The Founders and the Filibuster

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    I’m hearing some talk about “filibuster reform.” Is there a need for reform? Does the filibuster do much good? What would a reform look like? What is the history and origins of filibusters in our history? Did the Founders have much opinion on the procedure or was it just some sort of procedure that naturally evolved through legislative sessions?


    I second all these questions!


    Originally, both houses of Congress had unlimited debate. The House moved to its current limited debate early in the 19th century.

    The Senate, on the other hand, remained a bastion of endless gabbing until early in the 20th century. At that point, it allowed members to cut off debate by 2/3 vote. The current 60-vote requirement for cutting off debate was adopted in the wake of the 1960s civil rights laws.

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