While most of Washington is focused on the “fiscal cliff,” the Senate has been engaged in a debate this week over the function of the most notable procedural trick in the chamber’s rulebooks: the filibuster. The filibuster allows minority party senators to block consideration of legislation unless supporters are able to secure 60 votes for passage. “I think now it’s pretty clear that you’ve got a majority of Democrats supporting a change,” said congressional scholar Norm Ornstein. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, denounced Democratic plans to change Senate filibuster rules with a simple-majority vote but in his most specific comments to date on Democrats’ plans, McConnell seemed resigned to the reality that Republicans cannot prevent the changes.
30 Nov 2012