Why Both Parties Should Preserve the Senate’s Legislative FilibusterThe Federalist Society
The inauguration will culminate in a transfer of power in Congress. For the first time in six years, Democrats will control the upper chamber when Vice President Kamala Harris takes office to break the 50-50 tie in the Senate. With Democratic leaders calling for the end of the Senate’s legislative filibuster, the Senate as an institution could change over the next four years with significant consequences for American governance.
Soon to be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed support for ending the legislative filibuster to clear potential roadblocks for the Democrats’ agenda. Over the past decade, Democratic and Republican leaders have weakened the filibuster by reducing the 60-vote threshold for cloture votes for the consideration of executive and judicial nominations. These changes have expedited the confirmation process, but have done so at a cost of reduced public confidence and increased polarization with nominees passing with no bipartisan support.
The current moment (as Senators are transferring gavels and changing offices to reflect the new balance of power) is a good time for lawmakers on both sides to reflect on the Senate’s purpose and rules.
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