Congressional Digest

Congressional Digest January 2014 No. 01 Vol. 93
Changing the Filibuster Rules

Changing the Filibuster Rules

A Historic Vote on Senate Procedure

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The United States Constitution reserves congressional “supermajority” votes (as opposed to a “simple majority” of 50 percent plus one) for a few specific purposes. These include impeachment, overriding presidential vetoes, ratifying treaties, and passage of constitutional amendments. Otherwise, it allows each chamber of Congress to set its own rules. The concept of requiring a supermajority to cut off debate on a bill and proceed to a vote was not even thought of by the Founders.

Over the last several decades, however, use of the Senate filibuster, which enables senators to delay or block votes and tri…

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In This Issue

Should the Senate Use the “Nuclear Option” to Change the Rules for Confirming Presidential Nominees?

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