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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Filibuster Reform Could Help Immigration Reform Efforts

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When the DREAM Act was debated a few years ago, it couldn't
pass the Senate not because a majority of Senators were against the measure,
but because the GOP filibustered and Democrats couldn't find the 60 votes they
needed. Republicans filibustered more than 200 bills in the last Congress which
is as many as they had in the last several decades combined.The filibuster has been used as well against a number of other pro-immigration efforts.


Huffington Post is reporting that Senator Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged today to change the rules so that the minority party
has fewer options to obstruct legislation. He won't eliminate the filibuster,
but he's going to make it a lot harder to use. Reid's ideas include doing away
with the motion to proceed, but some are saying that such a proposal is too
modest and it would remain easy to gum up the process at other stages. There
are other proposals that include reform ideas that Reid has said he is open to
considering including ending secret holds, guaranteeing amendments that can be
offered by the majority and minority, requiring a "talking filibuster" where
senators must remain on the Senate floor and an expedite process for
nominations.


In all likelihood, the filibuster rules would be set at the
beginning of the new Congress where arguably a simple majority would be all
that is required for passage.

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