GOP senator suggests filibuster could be at risk

 January 27, 2024

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) says that the filibuster could be at risk if Republicans do not retake control of the U.S. Senate in 2024. 

The Hill reports that Daines, the chairman of the Senate Republicans' campaign arm, said as much Wednesday during an event that was held by The Ripon Society.

The Ripon Society is a conservative-leaning think tank.

Before we get to Daines' remarks, we'll take a quick look at the filibuster.

The senate filibuster

At the most basic level of understanding, the Senate filibuster is the requirement that a piece of legislation needs at least 60 votes - in contrast to a simple majority of 51 - to pass through the upper chamber.

The U.S. Senate explains, "The Senate tradition of unlimited debate has allowed for the use of the filibuster, a loosely defined term for action designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill, resolution, amendment, or other debatable question. Prior to 1917 the Senate rules did not provide for a way to end debate and force a vote on a measure."

It adds, " That year, the Senate adopted a rule to allow a two-thirds majority to end a filibuster, a procedure known as "cloture." In 1975 the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds of senators voting to three-fifths of all senators duly chosen and sworn, or 60 of the 100-member Senate."

Currently, the filibuster makes it really difficult to get anything done in the Senate because the Democrats only have a one-seat majority in the upper chamber.

The situation is made more difficult for the Democrats by the fact that U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) have shown that they are willing to vote with Republicans on certain controversial issues.

The filibuster could be in jeopardy

During his remarks on Wednesday, Daines suggested that the filibuster could be in jeopardy if the Republican do not retake control of the Senate this year.

The Hill reports, "Daines said Wednesday at an event at The Ripon Society . . . that Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema, an Independent from Arizona who was previously a Democrat and mostly votes with other Democrats in the Senate, 'saved' the filibuster during this session of Congress."

The outlet goes on to report, "Daines said he was discussing the filibuster with Manchin on the Senate floor before Christmas, and Manchin indicated that it would likely be removed if Republicans did not take back control of the Senate this November."

Part of the reason for this is that it is not believed that Manchin and Sinema will be returning to the Senate after the upcoming election. So, if the Democrats can maintain their majority in the Senate and if they can get two more Democrats who would support removing the filibuster, then they very well could get rid of the filibuster.

If there is any good news here, it is that the Republicans are expected to win the majority of the U.S. Senate in 2024.

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