by Walter and Rosemary Brasch
The filibuster is at the core of the U.S. senate.
It’s also why nothing of much significance has been done the past decade.
Under Senate rules, senators can filibuster any legislation. They can just stand up and start talking. They can talk about anything they wish. They can read from telephone books, or even take bathroom breaks. They can also yield the floor to like-minded senators.
Even a threat of a filibuster—it doesn’t have to be carried out—is enough to stop legislation.
Senate rules require that 60 percent of the senate must vote to stop a filibuster. Knowing this, the Republicans, a minority party in the Senate, have consistently blocked legislation just by threatening to filibuster anything they didn’t agree with—not even allowing it to come to the floor for discussion.