Unlimited Debate – It’s What The Founders Ordered

Unlimited Debate – It’s What The Founders Ordered Image

We the people want to retain unlimited debate in the Senate.  Known as the filibuster, this technique has been used effectively by both political parties in the past.  So why would Harry Reid want to end the practice today?  Answer: to pass bills that otherwise should be appropriately debated, discussed and compromised on through consultation with “we the people”.  This gives “we the people” the opportunity to weigh in on the matter being brought up for consideration.  Ending the filibuster will only take the American people further out of control of the very government we established with limited powers!!  The message from “we the people” in the last election is that “we the people” want more say in the business that our government is conducting not less.   We want to hold our government officials accountable to what we want, as a representative Republic should function.   We the people do not want a select few to govern over us.  Our government was constituted from “we the people” to establish limited Federal government and “we the people” want that government to function the way it was intended to from the beginning of the republic.

There will be a vote in the Senate on Jan 25th to decide if the filibuster is to be banned or not.  This would allow any legislation to move forward with a simply majority.  Today a cloture vote on debate must be held first, requiring 3/5 ths of the Senators agreeing prior to conducting a vote on that piece of legislation.   The current process is good so that neither party can jam any bill through the Senate for any reason without the proper debate on the merits and impacts of the bill.  Both parties should see the benefits to this debating process.

We the people demand that this process be kept and that this bill to end cloture or the filibuster be defeated.

Attached is the information on Filibuster and Cloture on the United States Senate web site, copied in full, so that all can see what has occurred in the past.  The filibuster was used for good and bad.  But this is the way our system must operate in order for us to progress in the best way possible.  Why?  Because it demands debate, discussion and compromise which often is better that the original bill.   This is for the good of “we the people” of the United States of America.

If you like this concept, please feel free to use this information, and providing proper credit, to send to your elected officials and have your voice be heard.  It is for the good of the country that we all participate in the process and that all voices be heard in the process before any new legislation is enacted.

The following is from the United States Senate website and copied in full:

Filibuster and Cloture

Using the filibuster to delay or block legislative action has a long history. The term filibuster — from a Dutch word meaning “pirate” — became popular in the 1850s, when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent a vote on a bill.

In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could filibuster. As the House of Representatives grew in numbers, however, revisions to the House rules limited debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued on the grounds that any senator should have the right to speak as long as necessary on any issue.

In 1841, when the Democratic minority hoped to block a bank bill promoted by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, he threatened to change Senate rules to allow the majority to close debate. Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton rebuked Clay for trying to stifle the Senate’s right to unlimited debate.

Three quarters of a century later, in 1917, senators adopted a rule (Rule 22), at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson, that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote, a device known as “cloture.” The new Senate rule was first put to the test in 1919, when the Senate invoked cloture to end a filibuster against the Treaty of Versailles. Even with the new cloture rule, filibusters remained an effective means to block legislation, since a two-thirds vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next five decades, the Senate occasionally tried to invoke cloture, but usually failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to Southern senators who sought to block civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching legislation, until cloture was invoked after a 57 day filibuster against the Civil Right Act of 1964. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds to three-fifths, or 60 of the current one hundred senators.

Many Americans are familiar with the filibuster conducted by Jimmy Stewart, playing Senator Jefferson Smith in Frank Capra’s film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but there have been some famous filibusters in the real-life Senate as well. During the 1930s, Senator Huey P. Long effectively used the filibuster against bills that he thought favored the rich over the poor. The Louisiana senator frustrated his colleagues while entertaining spectators with his recitations of Shakespeare and his reading of recipes for “pot-likkers.” Long once held the Senate floor for 15 hours. The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina’s J. Strom Thurmond who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

About the Author: William J. Michie, Jr. has a BS and MS degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University and an MBA degree from Rutgers University.  He has had a 32.5 year career in Polyethylene Product Development with Union Carbide and Dow Chemical Corp. and is the holder of a number of patents. H. Marsman and D. Madio also contributed to this article.

About The Author: William has a BS and MS degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University and an MBA degree from Rutgers University. He has had a 32.5 year career in Polyethylene Product Development with Union Carbide and Dow Chemical Corp. and is the holder of a number of patents.

  • John Mayer

    Your headline “Unlimited Debate – It’s What The Founders Ordered” is a stretch at best.
    Aren’t the founders the people who wrote the constitution? The constitution has no commitment to unlimited debate.
    Article 1, Section 5 states:
    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings

    Unlimited debate was simply a rule initially adopted by each chamber.
    The House of Representatives abandoned it long ago when it became unworkable.
    The Senate should feel free to do likewise for the same reason.

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