Tennessee’s senior U.S. Senator is speaking out against proposed changes to the filibuster. Republican Lamar Alexander says efforts to limit filibusters would cost the Senate its historic function as a brake on legislation that otherwise might be rushed through the chamber.
The 72-year-old Alexander tells The Tennessean says without the filibuster the Senate would become “just like the House”, where a simple majority vote would win each time. When a Senator engages in a filibuster, it takes 60 votes to bring it to an end, so that the legislation in question can be considered for a vote.
Some Democrats are talking openly about changing Senate rules in January that would allow a simple majority vote to change the filibuster policy, as opposed to the 67 votes that have been the standard.
Those Democrats say the rules need to be changed so that Republicans can’t block many of President Obama’s legislative priorities through the mere threat of a filibuster.
When Republicans briefly controlled the Senate last decade, some members of the GOP talked about changing the filibuster rules, but were rebuked by Democrats who said the practice was a necessary strategy to block Republicans from passing all of then-President George W. Bush’s agenda.