Fail

01.24.13

Filibuster Reform Fails Again

Alex Wong/Getty Images ()

It's done, it's far too weak to make much of a difference, Sen. Harry Reid still runs the show, and we'll be at this again in 2014. The filibuster is intended to be a great tool of moderation in the legislative branch. It hasn't been that for some time, and the longer we keep putting off real reform with these half-baked reforms, the worse the eventual calamity and the more likely the best aspects of our upper chamber are ultimately abandoned. Small "c" conservatives should be most disappointed today. Over to you, Huffington Post:

The deal would address the filibuster on the motion to proceed, which had regularly prevented the Senate from even considering legislation and was a major frustration for Reid. The new procedure will also make it easier for the majority to appoint conferees once a bill has passed, but leaves in place the minority's ability to filibuster that motion once -- meaning that even after the Senate and House have passed a bill, the minority can still mount a filibuster one more time.

Reid won concessions on judicial nominations as well. Under the old rules, after a filibuster had been beaten, 30 more hours were required to pass before a nominee could finally be confirmed. That delay threatened to tie the chamber in knots. The new rules will only allow two hours after cloture is invoked.

The two leaders also agreed that they will make some changes in how the Senate carries out filibusters under the existing rules, reminiscent of the handshake agreement last term, which quickly fell apart. First, senators who wish to object or threaten a filibuster must actually come to the floor to do so. And second, the two leaders will make sure that debate time post-cloture is actually used in debate. If senators seeking to slow down business simply put in quorum calls to delay action, the Senate will go live, force votes to produce a quorum, and otherwise work to make sure senators actually show up and debate.