Filibustering

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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When the Senate failed to pass universal background checks for gun purchases, it wasn't because a majority of senators failed to support the bill. It was because the minority of senators who opposed the bill filibustered it.

Why is it so difficult for the Star-Telegram and other news sources to report this accurately?

It doesn't take 60 votes to "pass" a bill in the Senate. It only requires 51, a simple majority. However, in the face of an objection by any senator, unless 60 senators vote to proceed, a cloture vote, the Senate cannot vote on the bill.

The last Congress set a record for votes to shut off debate -- 112, far exceeding the previous mark of 61 in 2001-02. There have been 64 cloture votes this year. Filibusters used to be the exception; now they are the rule and routinely used to block votes on significant legislation.

If a vote had been held, this bill would have passed 55-45.

-- Craig C. Roshaven, Fort Worth

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