That Washington

Extra Fizz: McDermott Introduces Filibuster Revision

By Erica C. Barnett January 21, 2010

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In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's Senate victory in Massachusetts this week, US Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), along with 25 other representatives, introduced legislation today that would amend filibuster rules so that the minority party couldn't use the filibuster to prevent votes in the Senate. Effectively, the rule change McDermott is proposing would make it easier for Democrats to stop a Republican filibuster.

McDermott's resolution would complement legislation that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has been trying to pass since 1995—when Democrats were the minority party—that would allow the majority party to stop a filibuster with a vote of fewer than 60 senators. Under Harkin's proposal, senators would need 60 votes to break the first vote but then the amount of votes needed would drop to 57, then 54, then 51.
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