Right-wing media have attacked Senate Democrats' filibuster reform proposals by falsely claiming they plan to outright ban filibusters. In fact, Democrats are currently proposing a variety of changes to the overall process that are designed to promote transparency and curb abuse -- none of which include an outright ban of filibusters.
Right-Wing Media Claim Dems "Will Try To Kill The Filibuster"
Erickson: "Within The Next 24 Hours, Liberal Senators Will Try To Kill The Filibuster." In a January 4 post, RedState editor-in-chief and CNN contributor Erick Erickson referred to Democratic filibuster reform efforts and claimed, "Within the next 24 hours, liberal senators will try to kill the filibuster." [RedState, 1/4/11]
Fox Nation: "Dems Trying To Nuke The Filibuster." In a January 4 post, Fox Nation linked to a FoxNews.com article about Democrats' filibuster reform efforts with the headline, "Dems Trying to Nuke the Filibuster."
[Fox Nation, 1/4/11]
In Fact, Dems' Reform Proposals Do Not Include An Outright Ban On Filibusters
Politico: "Democrats Say They Don't Plan To Do Away With The 60-Vote Requirement To Break Filibusters." In a January 4 article about Democrats' filibuster reform efforts, Politico reported:
Democrats say they don't plan to do away with the 60-vote requirement to break filibusters - but want to discourage the overuse of the filibuster. Any senator can filibuster almost any Senate action - whether it's bringing up a bill for debate or trying to push a measure toward a final vote. The cloture votes to override a filibuster can take days to unfold under the Senate rules. [Politico, 1/4/11]
Politico: Democrats Hope To Eliminate "Secret Holds" And "Require" Senators To Make Their Objections To Legislation Public. From Politico:
In general, Democrats hope to narrow the scope of the filibuster, potentially doing away with the ability of one senator to simply object to even debating legislation. Democrats also hope to eliminate so-called secret holds, which allow senators to block legislation or a nomination anonymously. And they want to actually require senators to go to the floor and make their arguments public, much like the famous scenes in the movie classic, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." These days, a simple threat of the filibuster is enough to thwart legislation and produce time-consuming cloture votes. [Politico, 1/4/11]
CNN: Senate Democrats Trying To "Curb The Use Of Filibusters But Not Ban Them Entirely." In a January 4 article, CNN reported:
Frustrated by Republicans' escalating use of the filibuster, to stall even routine legislation and nominations, a group of Senate Democrats, led, in part, by first-term Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, is trying to build support for a wide-range of proposed Senate rule changes that would curb the use of filibusters but not ban them entirely. [CNN.com, 1/4/11]
AP: Udall's Proposal Does Not "End All Filibusters," But Rather "Eliminate[s]... 'Secret Holds'" And Requires Filibustering Senator To "Actually Debate The Bill." In an article about Sen. Tom Udall's (D-NM) filibuster reform proposal, The Associated Press reported:
Udall's proposal already falls short of ending all filibusters. It would eliminate the practice of "secret holds" where a single senator can anonymously block a bill or nomination from reaching the floor and end the use of filibusters to prevent a bill from being taken up.
It would also require those waging a filibuster to stay on the floor and actually debate the bill, a la Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Udall would also guarantee the minority the right to offer a certain amount of amendments to bills. [The Associated Press, 1/4/11]