Is Filibustering Fair?

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Filibuster has received lots of attention lately, as the US Senate can’t seem to build consensus anymore with its chamber evenly divided (50/50).  You see, senator’s term lasts 6 years unlike the House of Representatives (2 years). In theory, the Senate is the better half of the Congress in terms of consensus building. So why the filibustering? Let’s take a look at what is a filibuster? And is it a fair system?

For the purpose of this discussion, a filibuster is a parliamentary procedure used in the Senate to stall legislation from being brought to a vote. To overcome a filibuster, the Senate rules requires a 60 votes (out of 100) to stop the debate.  But over time, the filibuster has gone from being a last minute resort to a bluff to now a tool for paralysis, especially when it is abused.

To be fair, the Senate has eliminated filibustering on judicial and executive nominations. So the nominees can be vetted into positions.  Only the legislative filibuster remains. And that’s what being in the news as Mr. Biden and the Democrats trying to pass his voting right reform, infrastructure, debit ceiling, and social welfare reform bills.

To be honest, Mr. Biden is having problems unifying his own party members on passing legislation. Doing away with the filibuster may seem convenient, but it’s not going to help.  In actuality it will only take away the protection against the tyranny of the majority. Meaning, whichever party in power can just vote out and ignore the minority parties sans safeguard.

Do you think filibustering helps or hurts our democracy?

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