When the 113th Congress convenes in January, expect talk about reforming the filibuster in the Senate. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says there should be new rules in place for member of the Senate to use the filibuster. While he says there are practical uses, many members have abused the practice, which allows the minority party to block votes on legislation.
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“It used to be used sparingly,” Durbin said. “Back in the 1960s, in one six-year period of time, there was one filibuster. In the last six years there have been almost 390 filibusters. Republicans have used these to stop the Senate over and over and over again. We’ve got to change this.”
Durbin believes those who use filibusters should remain on the Senate Floor. “If you want to filibuster and stop the business of the Senate then you ought to park your fanny on the floor of the United States Senate and be prepared to debate it,” Durbin said. Asked if the Senate could limit the number of filibusters allowed each session, Durbin said you could, but says there are moments in history when a filibuster is needed.
“There are times when it is necessary to preserve the Senate as the peculiar and unique institution that it is,” he said. Durbin expects discussion on the filibuster reform to happen in January.