News Columns & Blogs

Filibuster rule change avoided for now

Good for the U.S. Senate for reaching a tentative agreement Tuesday that avoids changing Senate filibuster rules. Democrats have been upset by how much Republicans have abused the filibuster, but lawmakers were correctly concerned about changing Senate tradition and limiting the legislative options of the minority party. Will the agreement last? Lawmakers agreed in January to change some filibuster rules, but that didn't stop the filibustering. In fact, a move earlier this year by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to block a vote on a budget resolution was a last straw for Democratic leaders. "It is things like that that will cause the Senate to have to reassess all the rules, because right now they accomplish so little," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at the time. On the first test vote of the new agreement, 17 Republicans (but not Moran or Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.) joined with Democrats in preventing a filibuster of Richard Cordray, who was nominated by President Obama two years ago to lead the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.