Professional procrastinator: the filibuster, could be eliminated

Autumn Page, Staff Reporter

After many years of enjoying various government members telling stories on the Senate floor, the rules might change — which makes me very sad.

If you’re unaware of the beautiful thing that is a filibuster, it’s a political procedure where one or more members of Congress debate over a proposed piece of legislation to delay, or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal. Also known as professional procrastination.

Now — I believe that this tactic can be annoying, but oh so funny. I am here to say that this great source of entertainment is up for debate, ironic isn’t it?

In the past, because of the involvement of filibusters, Senate leaders have increasingly used cloture motions as a tool to manage the flow of business, even in the absence of a threatened filibuster. 

Cloture motions are the only procedure where the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter and overcome a filibuster.

The presence or absence of cloture attempts is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the presence or absence of a threatened filibuster. Filibustering does not depend on the use of any specific rules, whether a filibuster is present is always a matter of judgment

In 2005, a group of Republican senators, led by Majority Leader Bill Frist, proposed having the presiding officer, Vice President Dick Cheney, rule that a filibuster on judicial nominees was unconstitutional, as it was inconsistent with the President’s power to name judges with the advice and consent of a simple majority of senators. This was the beginning of making the topic very politicized. 

From April through June 2010, under Democratic control, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration held a series of monthly public hearings on the history and use of the filibuster in the Senate. 

From this, elimination of post-cloture debate on a motion to proceed to a bill once cloture has been invoked on the motion, provided that certain thresholds of bipartisan support are met.

Sixty votes were still required to overcome a filibuster, and the “silent filibuster” — in which a senator can delay a bill even if they leave the floor — remained in place. The time has come for yet another debate regarding this strange time-wasting strategy. 

The Biden-Harris campaign has made their position clear within the infrastructure package that was announced. The package also includes higher taxes for the rich,  and if you’re a fan of mine or know me in the slightest bit, eat the rich. 

The Senate Parliamentarian gave an OK to a new strategy that would let Democrats, in a 50-50 split chamber, to rely on a 51-50 threshold to advance some bills. This is different from the usual 60 needed. 

There has always been talk of trying to change the filibuster rules, but this move would be a powerful political lift in the divided and traditional Senate.

I will continue to preach about how there needs to be younger voices and more untraditional change within the government, and this is it. There is pushback for this, but the general consensus is that the filibuster needs to go.

Which will mean no more funny filibusters. Here are some of my favorites — Ted Cruz and Rand Paul