This week I wrote a piece about U.S. Sen. Harry Reid‘s support for reforming filibuster rules that have ground the U.S. Senate to a halt. Reid particularly wants to eliminate the so-called motion to proceed, which requires 60 votes and, if successful, moves a bill to the Senate floor for debate and final passage.
But this Washington Post blog shows there’s more to filibuster reform than just the motion to proceed, and alternative ideas that might work even if that rule is left unchanged. For example, a slowly decreasing threshold of votes necessary to proceed, or fast-tracking certain bills (such as critical nominations) that wouldn’t be subject to the filibuster.
Although some people might think of this as simply arcane Senate procedure that has nothing to do with the real world, the fact is, these rules are a big reason there’s gridlock in Washington, D.C. Although they were originally intended to ensure the rights of the minority party were respected and to fulfill the Senate’s role as a cooling saucer for the hot tea of public passions, they’ve become a barrier to running the government. Reform is necessary, but how it’s done could have profound impacts going forward.