Curbs on Senate filibusters pushed through
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:36 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The tradition-laden Senate voted on Thursday to modestly curb filibusters, using a bipartisan consensus rare in today's hyper-partisan climate to make it a bit harder but not impossible for outnumbered senators to sink bills and nominations.
The rules changes would reduce yet not eliminate the number of times opponents — usually minority Republicans these days — can use filibusters, procedural tactics that can derail legislation and which can be stopped only by the votes of 60 of the 100 senators.
In return, the majority — Democrats today — would have to allow two minority amendments on bills, a response to Republican complaints that Democrats often prevent them from offering any amendments at all. The new procedures would limit the time spent debating some bills and nominations, allowing some to be completed in hours that could otherwise take a day or more.
The changes were broken into two pieces and approved by votes of 78-16 and 86-9. In both roll calls, Republican opponents were joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who usually sides with Democrats. Many of the GOP “no” votes came from Tea Party-backed senators such as Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
The two votes and a brief debate took less than an hour, impressively quick for the Senate.
The pact leaves the Senate's minority party with far more power than it has in the House, where rules let a united majority party easily muscle through its priorities. It falls short of changes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had been threatening to ram through using the 55 votes Democrats have, a technique nicknamed the “nuclear option” because it is considered likely to produce harsh GOP retaliation that could grind work to a virtual halt.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- CMU grad, hiking accident survivor Ralston arrested in Colorado
- Satanists want to build monument
- Air Force allegedly uses spy system of cadet informants to counter misconduct
- Maine WCTU chapter takes low-key approach to abstinence
- Seizure of nuns fuels Syrian Christians’ fears
- Mid-Atlantic storm makes driving hazardous
- Suspense builds for pipeline report
- Fearful experiences passed on in mice families, study finds
- Gun permit tiff puts officials’ jobs in danger
- White House flops: Obama knew uncle
- Wind-power companies won’t face federal prosecution in eagle deaths