The Filibuster Reform Dream is Over

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 26 2011 4:48 PM

The Filibuster Reform Dream is Over

Tom Harkin, Jeff Merkley, and Tom Udall announce the failure of their plan to reform the filibuster with a "constitutional option." From the statement:

After years of unprecedented obstruction and a historic rise in the use of the filibuster, the trio introduced a resolution on Jan. 5 – the first day of the new Congress – to restore genuine debate in the chamber and make the Senate more accountable.

The reform proposal quickly gained support, earning 26 cosponsors on the day it was introduced. Support for the measure, however, stopped short of gaining the majority of votes necessary to move forward under the Constitutional Option and Senate Republicans objected to bringing the resolution to the floor for debate – a historically consistent and necessary first step to proceed.

"Reform is not for the short-winded," said Udall. "After witnessing years of obstruction and abuse of the Senate rules, I first proposed the Constitutional Option last year to tackle the Senate’s dysfunction head-on with a simple majority vote. While I’m disappointed this body lacks the necessary will to enact truly substantive reforms, we have certainly succeeded in bringing reform to the forefront and shining a light on the sources of our dysfunction. In the long term, this fight is far from over and I’m committed making sure the Senate is more than just a graveyard for good ideas and we are able to address the challenges we face as a nation."

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Tim Noah has been trackin g the inevitable defeat.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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