Filibuster Reform Is Dead Again

Byron York reports that while we were busy with the State of the Union post-hoc, filibuster reform died a quiet death in the senate:

The Democrats' anti-filibuster wing, led by Sen. Tom Udall, tried to muster support for the effort to kill, or at least substantially weaken, the filibuster. Udall wasn't, of course, trying to persuade Republicans to go along; all GOP senators opposed the idea. Rather, Udall and his allies were trying -- and, it turns out, failing -- to convince 51 Democrats to put an end to the filibuster. By Tuesday, it was clear they had failed. After the State of the Union, Reid adjourned the Senate, and the 22-day "first day" was over.

The filibuster was untouched; nothing has been done to it. "Literally nothing," says a Republican Hill source....

Why did Democrats give in? Two reasons. One, they know they might soon need the filibuster themselves -- not in a few years, but in a few months. Republicans now have 47 votes in the Senate. If they can peel away four Democrats on any given piece of legislation -- say, the repeal of a portion of Obamacare -- they could be stopped only by a Democratic filibuster....

The second reason is that Democrats saw the folly in changing a hallowed Senate rule with just 51 votes.... If Democrats set a precedent for changing the rules now with just 51 votes, what will happen the next time Republicans are in charge?

Read the full story at The Washington Examiner.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Politics

Just In