The filibuster controversy continues

As the Republicans take control in the Senate, the same arguments have emerged over filibusters, but the parties have had to switch sides as they have switched control – the Republicans now lamenting the Democratic use of the filibuster (causing Mitch McConnell to pull the Iran debate off the programme this week) and the Democrats using them more widely – 12 in the first two months of the 114th.

Since Harry Reid’s filibuster reform, only a simple majority of 51 votes has been needed to stop a filibuster on a nomination confirmation (except in the case of Supreme Court justices) and this may go some way to explaining the reason Loretta Lynch’s confirmation to Attorney General has been kept off the agenda.However for everything else the cloture motion (the vote to end a filibuster) still needs 60 votes which can prove difficult in a chamber of only 100.

This is a really useful article underlining the importance of the leadership in the Senate in determining the rules by which the Senate operates on a day to day basis and what they are, or are not, willing to change. It equally provides useful evidence for the individual importance of senator’s – as the chamber is run on ‘unanimous consent’, this lends power to individual senators and in a time of heightened partisanship it seems they are ever more willing to use this power.