Politics Magazine

Most Americans Want Senate Filibuster To Be Reformed

Posted on the 03 June 2021 by Jobsanger
Most Americans Want Senate Filibuster To Be Reformed
The chart above reflects the results of the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 29th and June 1st of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,275 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 2.8 points, and for registered voters is 3 points.

When the Senate filibuster was first invented in the 19th century, it required the filibustering senator to actually hold the floor of the Senate by standing and talking. When he ceased doing that, the filibuster was over, and a vote on the bill in question could be taken (and passed by a majority vote).

In modern times, the Senate changed the filibuster rules. Now a senator can filibuster by just notifying the leadership of his/her intention to do so. He/she does not have to talk at all, and to overcome the filibuster requires 60 votes by senators. 

The idea behind the change was so the Senate could continue doing business during a filibuster, and would not have to wait for a senator to stop talking. Unfortunately, the new rule has been abused by Republicans. They now are able to block any bill proposed by President Biden or the Democrats, requiring 60 votes to pass a bill.

There has been much talk about doing away with the filibuster. But the American public is divided about that. About 50% say the filibuster is mostly good and 50% say it is mostly bad (the split among registered voters is 51% good to 49% bad). 

But while the public is not sure about doing away with the filibuster, an overwhelming percentage would like to see it reformed. And most would be happy to go back to the way filibusters were done in the past -- where a senator had to hold the floor by continuing to talk. About 54% of adults (and 59% of registered voters) want that to happen -- and surprisingly, 52% of Republicans agree. 

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