Breakingthefilibuster

by Chris Bodenner

Ezra Klein comments:

First, the rise in filibusters is just shocking. And this doesn't even count all of them. It only counts those filibusters that the majority actually tried to do something about. Plenty more filibusters get threatened, but cloture doesn't get filed because the issue isn't important enough or the votes aren't present.

Second, note how many filibusters get broken.

It's not all, but it's a far cry from none (and it's more than you see in this graph, as filibusters that get withdrawn don't end through cloture). Some get broken by overwhelming majorities. But that doesn't mean the filibuster failed. A dedicated filibuster takes about a week to break even if you have the votes. That's a week of wasted time in the Senate. If your preference isn't merely to delay one vote but to threaten the majority with the prospect of getting less done overall, then launching a lot of fruitless filibusters makes perfect sense.

Ezra in a separate post addresses the question, "How, on the one hand, can I believe we've had the most productive congress in four decades, yet on the other, argue that the past two years show that we need major changes to reduce obstruction in the Senate?" Meanwhile, Greg Sargent reports that Reid is getting serious about the letter from Senate Democrats.

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