Sen. Thune: Changing filibuster rule weakens minority party rights

UPDATE (7:44 p.m.): Voting and elections bill blocked by Republican filibuster as Democrats push to change Senate rules.

WASHINGTON — Senator John Thune is taking to the Senate floor Wednesday to oppose the effort to change the chamber’s rule on filibusters.

The Senate’s expected vote for Wednesday night will either tweak or leave as-is the legislative filibuster. The long-standing chamber rule allows senators to debate, holding the floor and preventing a vote.

As it stands now, to vote to close that debate requires the agreement of 60 senators. The proposed change drops that number to a simple majority.

The proposal came up as the Senate remains split on voting rights reform, that would make election day a Federal holiday and expand early and mail-in voting.

Thune argues that eliminating the filibuster goes against principals on which the country was founded.

“But the fact is, for over two centuries now, the Senate has served as a check and balance on the passions of the moment,” said Thune. “It’s the reason that the founders created six-year terms. It’s the reason that they’re staggered times to create continuity. And it’s the reason that we have procedures and the rules, like the legislative filibuster that require at least some level of cooperation with the other side.”

Senators take to the floor at 4 p.m. MT.


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