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Reforming the Filibuster

The Senate exists to serve the American people and to reflect our voices, but it has weaponized the filibuster, initially a tool to use in good faith for real debate and deliberation, against the will of the American people.

Misuse of the filibuster by the Senate minority has curtailed the vote on many important bills and nominations, making it more difficult for citizens’ voices to be heard.

 

Because of this, both parties in the Senate have considered reform over the years. 

Failed Filibuster Reform Blocks Voting Rights Legislation

Because the filibuster has so consistently inhibited Senators from doing their jobs as elected officials and voting on matters of importance to the American people, they recently considered reforming the filibuster through the “nuclear option.”

This would not have been the first time the Senate has used the nuclear option to change its own filibuster rules. In 2017, then-Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell used the nuclear option to override the Democrats’ filibuster to confirm Supreme Court justices by a simple majority vote—requiring only 51 votes to the previous 60.

Despite the possibility and popularity of filibuster reform, the Senate blocked the carve-out that would have returned the filibuster to the talking filibuster, in which Senators are required to stand up for their principles in open debate. 

 

This has major impacts on Americans. The Senate's failure to reform the filibuster allowed Republicans to prevent a final vote on the Freedom to Vote Act, which would have passed with every Democratic Senator's support and guaranteed voter protections across the country. 

By failing to reform the filibuster, the Senate has weakened Congress' ability to pass needed legislation in a timely manner and has allowed the Senate to continue using the "veto" filibuster to undermine the will of the majority in America by blocking majority-supported legislation.

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