The filibuster has long been a controversial topic and subject of debate on Capitol Hill. But the debate has heated up recently because some Republican senators are looking to eliminate the filibuster due to their frustration with the Democrats obstructing their agenda.

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint explains four reasons why the filibuster is an essential aspect of governance.

  1. Eliminating the filibuster will not bring order to the Senate. We should focus on streamlining the legislative process by cleaning up a burdened and disorganized floor schedule, not by getting rid of the Motion to Proceed. Instead, Senate leaders have chosen to focus on reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank, passing a highway bill, and approving the Iran nuclear deal.
  2. The filibuster prevents a tiered system of “super senators” and “second-class” senators. Senators on the Appropriations Committee and in leadership will have more rights and control than their colleagues. Making some senators “weaker” than others means the constituents they represent would have an unequal representation.
  3. Nobody is in the majority forever. The filibuster prevents tyranny of the majority. If Republicans take this tool away from the minority party Democrats today, it will not be there as an insurance policy for Republicans in the future.
  4. Losing the filibuster enables favor-trading and backroom deals. The filibuster is a transparent bargaining tool. If it is removed, it will encourage more bargains to be made behind closed doors, beyond public scrutiny.

DeMint concludes:

There are a lot of reasons why conservatives should preserve the filibuster (the practice of allowing a senator to speak, often against a certain bill, as long as he wishes). As Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., recently wrote, it promotes cool debate and cautious review, it guards against tyranny of the majority, it limits the scope of government, and it ensures that every voice is heard. In short, it fulfills the Founders’ vision for the Senate.

Do you think the Senate should keep the filibuster?

Comments (114)

Edward - January 29, 2016

The Republicans in Congress need to become the proposition and opposition party and do things, not just complain that there are roadblocks.

Diane Parrilli - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster! It is a useful tool. Thank you.

Jane Myers - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster — It can keep the majority honest

Susan T Swain - January 29, 2016

Yes I agree the filibuster is a good procedure.

Michael - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster.

Jerry Metcalf - January 29, 2016

Yes They have a lot of other cleaning up to do also.

M Maj - January 29, 2016

No, they should NOT abandon the filibuster, but should manage it accordingly. The rat of the senate Harry Reid used it to blockade Republicrats when he dispensed with it during judicial reviews. Now, when the Republicrats shoukld be doing the same thing, we get judges imposed on us who would see our nation diminished before the world. Our laws reduced to suggestions.

So what has Heritage done?
NOTHING… With Obamacare, would they return it to the “free market”? no, they have a “better idea”. No thanks Heritage, you are just like the other side. I have yet to see true freedom exibited by you. All I see is another mouthpiece for the establishment.

MM

Mike jacobs - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster.

Roger Dennison - January 29, 2016

Absolutely we should keep the filibuster. Yes, it is frustrating to see the minority party stop legislation, but holding a simple majority should not allow a party to railroad through legislation. After all, “almost” 50% of the legislatures disagree with the legislation being proposed. If we do away with the filibuster then we need to go to a 3-party system where compromise becomes mandatory to get anything done.

Stephanie Wilson - January 29, 2016

that’s a really tough question. i’m torn between tossing and keeping the filibuster.

Gerrye Johnston - January 29, 2016

Without a doubt the Filibuster needs to stay.
I wish every Legislator in Washington, D.C. would have watched Mr. Smith goes to Washington” what Representatives we would have in Congress.

Sincerely,

Gerrye Johnston
Founder/CEO
Men and Women for a Representative
Democracy in America

David Lopez - January 29, 2016

Yes, the Senate should keep the filibuster Also, I think the congressmen should be elected for 4 years and senators for 8. With 2 terms and no more

Stephen - January 29, 2016

Yes, keep the filibuster! Who are these people who are constantly assaulting the American way of life? The Constitution is what has enabled them prosper in this country of ours! Term Limits would stop this assault! Everyday I see more reasons for this needed change in Congresses office term. That’s the change we need.

Anne McDade Barrett - January 29, 2016

Retain the filibuster. . .

Ron Bonano - January 29, 2016

Keep the Filibuster as is

Howard Cannon - January 29, 2016

Didn’t Harry Reid take the filibuster away from the Republicans while he was the Majority Leader?
Maybe Republicans should repay the “favor”.

James T White Sr - January 29, 2016

I am for maintaining, free trade, requiring photo ID for voting, and the filibuster.

James T White Sr - January 29, 2016

I am for maintaining the filibuster.

David Tasker - January 29, 2016

When the democrats were in control of the senate, didn’t they suspend use of the filibuster???

Sandra Gray - January 29, 2016

Yes, we need to preserve the filibuster.
Conservatives need as much time as possible to speak about our effort to pass or not pass bills that preserve the foundations that our country is built on.
Passing bills like Obama Care will lead to the disintergration of the country our forefathers fought and died for.

keith patterson - January 29, 2016

Absolutely. Republicans should stop hiding from debate with tails tucked, to avoid perceived PR issues from standing for something. This attitude is what causes them to want to eliminate the filibuster – they don’t really care if they give up another tool for taking a stand, because they don’t like using the tools they have for that purpose anyway.

Ralph Neeley - January 29, 2016

Yes, keep the filibuster.

david murphy - January 29, 2016

keep the filibuster

Wayne Walli - January 29, 2016

Of course the filibuster is messy & makes some people angry; but it’s an important feature of congress & should be preserved.

Edith Daniels - January 29, 2016

Yes, keep the filibuster. Our founding fathers had seen the good of it, has worked all these years and should continue to be used.

Bill Calvert - January 29, 2016

This is another method of checks and balances that is a must keep in the Senate.

David A Singer - January 29, 2016

Yes, definitely.

Gene Combs - January 29, 2016

If we hadn’t had the filibuster, the Democrats would have passed all kinds of trash during Obama’s first term.

Quinn C. T. - January 29, 2016

Yes, the fillibuster should be kept.

Retta - January 29, 2016

Yes, keep the filibuster system.

Carole Griffin - January 29, 2016

Leave the filibuster in place.
We don’t need a tiered system in
Senate or backrooms deals.
Repubs are short-sighted not to see the
benefit it has for them in the future as
a majority.

[email protected] - January 29, 2016

Keep the fillibuster. Absolutely, keep it.

Karen Hawken - January 29, 2016

I believe that the filibuster should be retained! Eliminating it would be very short sighted. It works for both parties. It doesn’t hurt if legislation is delayed or fails to get passed. It might make the Senators rethink and reframe the legislation so it is a better law. Not just to pass a law that may not be needed.

Reuben Burns - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster. Strictly enforce voter ID laws,
Promote economic freedom. The media should be penalized for biased reporting. Bad reporting caused dangerous riots jn Ferg erson, Mo.

Rich Weber - January 29, 2016

It matters not what Republicans do regarding the filibuster. Harry Reid, when in control of the senate, changed major rules to achieve what he wanted. So, don’t change the filibuster rule and leave it in effect, the Democrats will change it when they want to anyway. They play to win!

Randy Hough - January 29, 2016

Americans who care deeply about America need to work to turn the world right side up again. We can start by ending the filibuster.
I’m all for it.

Fran Ruebel - January 29, 2016

Are you kidding? It may be difficult now, but what happens when you are the minority?

Frances - January 29, 2016

Leave it as is because it’s worked

Newt Kellett - January 29, 2016

I have a comment and 2 questions concerning points from your commentary.

COMMENT “As Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., recently wrote, it promotes cool debate and cautious review, it guards against tyranny of the majority…” While one can offer the point that the filibuster “guards against tyranny of the majority,” a counter point is that a minority of 41 can keep anything from happening in the Senate since it take 60 votes on the Motion to Proceed and 60 votes on Cloture. So I am not so sure that countering tyranny is any more important than countering minority control.

QUESTION 1 The Democrats, the minority, seem to be able to prevent legislation from moving forward to a vote as they recently did on a proposal to audit the Federal Reserve. They have done the same on other important issues. When the Republicans were the minority, why couldn’t or didn’t they stop bad legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act, from moving forward to a vote?

QUESTION 2 You stated in your commentary, “It has been promised that any rules change will go through regular order, so 67 votes will be needed to get rid of the filibuster. That means Democrats will have to be on board.” If that is true, and it is certainly logical, then how did Harry Reid manage to change the rules on confirming judges, other than SC judges, to where a simple majority was needed for confirmation? That rule changed with a 52-48 vote. This has been referred to as the “nuclear option.” Did Reid outmaneuver the Republicans by understanding and applying the procedures better than the Republicans?

Richard E. Maxwell - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster.

Ken - January 29, 2016

The filibuster prevents the majority from accomplishing the people’s work. The constitution does not provide for a super-majority vote in the Senate. If republicans would focus on a conservative agenda instead of their personal empowerment, then they would have less reason for concern about the leftists regaining the majority.

Don Glitschka - January 29, 2016

Keep the filibuster!

Albert Castro,Jr - January 29, 2016

The Senate should keep the filibuster. Someday the Republicans will be glad they can use it.

Robert Cahoon - January 29, 2016

I believe the filibuster should be retained as a guard against enactment of laws that are opposed by Congressmen who believe some laws need to be stopped in favor of maintaining constitutional principles.

cynthia paugh - January 29, 2016

By all Means keep the filibuster as it limits the scope of government. Any measure which can keep our legislative branch where it belongs is welcome. Let’sgo after the executive branch with its pen and phone,and the rogue courts promoted by the executive office, and the administrative folks ie. IRS, EPA, ETC.

Thomas Yunghans - January 29, 2016

I think if they want to filibuster they should have to actually to stand up there and speak, like they used to have to do. I think having to have 60 votes for normal business is not compatible with representative democracy. Maybe having Senators appointed by the states like the original constitution might be a better way of making change..

William Blair - January 29, 2016

It’s no-brainer. Of course they should.

Douglas Chambers - January 29, 2016

The filibuster rule should stay in place to treat our voters right

richard greenwall - January 29, 2016

Yes, the filibuster should be retained.

Dolores Minkley - January 29, 2016

The Senate should keep the filibuster

Herbert Scott - January 29, 2016

The mere fact that the filibuster issue has been brought up is a reflection of the situation that we have way too many politicians and way too few statesmen representing us in Congress. They are not knowledgeable of the value of the filibuster plus they tend to focus on the near-term perceived needs without giving due consideration and weight to the long-term ramifications of such actions. The filibuster must be maintained.

Randall Carney - January 29, 2016

Yes, the filibuster should be kept in place. These Republicans who want to get rid of it seem to have forgotten how effectively Senators Cruz and Paul used the filibuster back when Democrats controlled the Senate. Getting rid of it will surely come back to bite ’em in their pompous behinds.

Darryle Owens - January 29, 2016

I don’t know. Preventing tyranny of the majority is important, but there are many many senate rules that could probably be eliminated or changed. Term limits would solve a whole host of problems.

Elizabeth Houghton - January 29, 2016

Yes, the filibuster should be preserved. If one eliminates a tool to prevent the other side from using it, oneself cannot use it either.

Robert Appleby - January 29, 2016

Yes, Keep the Filibuster!

Holly Erickson - January 29, 2016

The filibuster must be kept at all costs. It is the only way to fundamentally ensure a representative government.

Anne Kelly - January 29, 2016

The Filibuster should be kept in place for all the reasons cited. It also is a way to bring the attention of the public to little-known or little understood bills being brought before the Senate.

rick - January 29, 2016

do the democrats get rid of the filibuster when they are in control? did they not allow the filibuster for republicans to get obamacare passed or anything else passed?

Jack E. Wells - January 30, 2016

Senate procedures should not be allowed to be altered at whim…Our constitution has served us well for over 200 years…The Senate Prez should not
allow such change…

John Batista - January 30, 2016

Keep the filibuster is my vote

George Schultze - January 30, 2016

Absolutely! There will be a day when it is the only defense remaining. Stop changing the rules.

Glenda Alley - January 30, 2016

Yes. Keep the filibuster

Donna Ellingsen - January 30, 2016

Of course we should keep the filibuster. The Senate should focus on stand-alone, one-issue bills.

Janice Starkey - January 30, 2016

Yes keep the filibuster

Paul van Loenen - January 30, 2016

Yes – keep the filibuster! It might prevent unwanted legislature from becoming ‘the law’

Phillip Prows - January 30, 2016

I believe the filibuster must remain intact, as it helps retain a balance of power. It needs to be a true filibuster though, carried out physically, a.d not be a “given” in name only.
One of the largest issues in regards to legislation, is the ability for extra legislation to be attached to a bill. All bills that are up for a vote should contain only one item, so nonsensical porkbarrel spending cannot compromise good legislation.

Michael Cox - January 30, 2016

I believe we do need to keep the filibuster as a means of stopping or making it possible to at least give the opportunity for someone to re-think their vote. The real problem is that the people are at the bottom of the pile, carrying all the weight of a government that is totally there to serve themselves. The so-called Republicans and the so-called democrats are one and the same. Call it what it is “socialistic society” We have killed the right to independent thinking and risk taking. Encourage actions after careful thought, not careless actions without any thought or understanding of consequences.

Richard Dooley - January 30, 2016

Yes

Gerald A. Pilley - January 30, 2016

The filibuster should definitely stay in effect.

Paula Pettit Skender - January 30, 2016

Keep the filibuster.

Harold Price - January 30, 2016

The filibuster is a necessary tool for the legislative body to prevent the majority from denying minority objection.

Daniel Fife - January 30, 2016

We need to stay as close to the Constitution as possible !!

Art Tunstall - January 30, 2016

The biggest argument for keeping the filibuster is that it works for both parties and allows every member to be heard.

John Wiener - January 30, 2016

Republicans (or Democrats) who would agree to removal of the filibuster are a perfect example of the low quality representation that exists in congress today. What has happened to common sense?

Mary Jean Moffitt - January 30, 2016

I am in favor of retaining the filibuster

Louise Mortenson - January 30, 2016

The filibuster is important and should be kept.

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - January 30, 2016

The filibuster is an important component of the deliberative process, and should be maintained even in frustrating situations.

Marjorie Brideweser - January 30, 2016

Yes, I agree the filibuster should be allowed.

maury haraway - January 30, 2016

Keep the filibuster. Use all legitimate means to make difficult the expansion of the federal government. Consider what Harry Reid was able to accomplish by changing the traditional operating rules of the senate. Maintain the traditions that have protected and served this nation for so many decades.

Charles Walker - January 30, 2016

Keep the filibuster! We don’t need anymore liberal, progressive, communist, or socialist management in this country.

Doris Atwater - January 30, 2016

Yes. Keep the filibuster.

Burma - January 30, 2016

I definitely want the filibuster to stay. It’s the one tool left to fight the overtaking of our freedoms, and unfair taxations or policies detrimental to us, and the sovereignty of the U.S. When Republicans use it, it is to protect all of the above, especially We the People! when Democrats use it, it is to do just the opposite and further destroy America!

Claude Wiseman Jr - January 30, 2016

Yes.

Christopher Scherer - January 30, 2016

The Filibuster ! Like any tool, it can be mis-used. However, I agree with you that this important tool should be KEPT for our (conservatives’) use for when we are in the minority – and will sometimes NEED it.

Mary Barker - January 30, 2016

Definitely because it prevents control by a few Senators and allows everyone a chance to express their views.

Mike Reinert - January 30, 2016

The senate should absolutely retain the filibuster. Any tool to slow the actions of government and preserve equal representation should be a sirens call.

Ardyne Womack - January 30, 2016

Anything to help keep the Senate from moving to fast and hopefully stop them from passing bad bills.

Jim K - January 30, 2016

Yes!

John Knner - January 30, 2016

What good is it when a majority leader uses the nuclear option? GOP better learn to play hardball.

James Guest - January 30, 2016

Yes!

Edith Thielke - January 30, 2016

Yes, the filibuster should be kept so ;that all Senators have an equal opportunity to have their voice heard. Plus the other Senators can listen and hear a different opinion than their own and perhaps may even agree with that opinion.

John Barberis - January 30, 2016

We have witnessed a near total failure of government with the Senate. Little or nothing is/was done. When Senator Reid was the Majority Leader, he felt free to suspend the filibuster to serve his political purposes. Current Majority Leader McConnell does not seem willing to do the same, even when citizens are begging Republican leadership to defund Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.

The filibuster may prevent tyranny of sorts, but it was not required by our Constitution. If the legislative branch of government fails to do its job, then elimination of the filibuster should be considered,

Mildred olzinski - January 30, 2016

Yes. Definitely

Bill Coates - January 30, 2016

Yes, but the seniority system must be eliminated. Those who created our problems tend to defend their work far beyond the point where its failure is obvious. Those who fought for the voters have obviously failed, and should let someone else try a new way.
All who have been in the House and Senate for ten years or more should resign. They are responsible for, or complicit in, all of our current problems.
They should go back to their district, donate their pension to charity, and work at an honest job for at least two years so they understand how hard it is to make a living today. They must be replaced by people who have been working for a living while Congress put the skids under our economy and society. Fresh people can root out and repeal Congress’s corrupt attempts at vote-buying and bribery.

Lawrence M. Oberdank - January 30, 2016

The filibuster should be kept but it should revert to its original form. A Senator invoking it should be required to speak until he convinces a majority or the Senate to support his position or until he gives up. Simply invoking it without more is merely an easy obstruction vehicle.

Chauncey Isenhour - January 30, 2016

I used to think the filibuster was a bad thing but your description has changed my mind.

Ben Booth - January 30, 2016

The Senate is the deliberative body in Congress. The filibuster should be preserved.

mary ann lueckel - January 31, 2016

After reading Jim DeMint’s explanation of the use of the filibuster, I am all for it. Previously I was ignorant of its value. Thanks Jim!!

Jan Benfield - January 31, 2016

We should keep the filibuster.

Cliff Ebel - January 31, 2016

Leave the rules alone. They have been in place for alot longer than individuals in congress and have worked fine. Congress needs to pay attention to it’s jod of writing constitutionally based laws and keep their grubby fingers off of everything else.

Dan - January 31, 2016

This is for the politicians who think for today only: Watch what you wish for ..it could come back and bite you.

Don Waggener - January 31, 2016

Keep the filibuster. Don’t spend time trying to tweak the rules to get a short term advantage. Build a strong agenda and advocate for it strongly and effectively within Congress and to the general public to make and keep the policy changes necessary to move our country forward,

Anne Woods - January 31, 2016

I learned in school that the Filibuster was a safety measure that was good for making congress take a longer or 2nd look at an action before voting it in. I still feel this is a very necessary part of our Congressional program of actions. Keep It!!!

Mike Hertel - January 31, 2016

Absolutely!!

Jim - January 31, 2016

Yes. I agree!

Gatherine A, Huston - January 31, 2016

Yes, we should keep the fillibuster. Harry Reid tries to use more power then his position gives to him.

Gatherine A, Huston - January 31, 2016

I left a comment.

Blake Hillman - February 1, 2016

Yes! The Senate should keep the filibuster.

Joan Cummins - February 1, 2016

Keep the fillabuster

Maria Light - February 1, 2016

Keep the filibuster alive in the political arena!

cordell jones - February 1, 2016

Absolutely, Keep the filibuster. Is there a way to make it a permanent rule? The despicable democrats will change it back when the occasion presents itself.

Helen - February 2, 2016

YES! KEEP THE FILIBUSTER.

Pamela Weber - February 2, 2016

Keep the filibuster for the vey reasons mentioned in this article!

O.M. - February 3, 2016

Only Cheats and Liars try to get rid of Filibuster,not honest Politicians(??)
Democrats try to stop you?
Pull a HARRY REID!!

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