No Option for Filibuster

Filibusters by Republicans and Democrats.

Filibusters by Republicans and Democrats.

Even after 20 children were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, gun-control legislation was shot down in the Senate. Although 54 senators voted in favor of a proposal to expand background checks on gun purchases, this amendment was defeated for failure to attain the 60 votes needed to force a vote. In other words, the filibuster was the opponents’ weapon of choice.

The House of Representatives adopted a “public option” to administer health-care coverage in 2009, but it was not an option in the Senate. Because of concern that a bill containing the public option could not get the necessary 60 votes, the public option was removed from the Senate bill. The cause of death: a potential filibuster.

As the presidential election moves into its final stages, the fate of the filibuster deserves attention equal to the ramifications of the Electoral College and the attendant congressional elections. [Read more…]