“Hold the Floor”

President Joe Biden (D) is pretending he doesn’t want to get rid of the filibuster.

There’s no reason to protect it, other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done. Nothing at all will get done. There’s a lot at stake. The most important one is the right to vote, that’s the single most important one.

So far, so good.

But. Because there’s always a but.

Biden referenced former Senator Strom Thurmond (D at the time) of South Carolina, who once conducted a 24-hour filibuster in a failed bid to halt passage of civil rights legislation in 1957.

And then he gave his game away with this:

The president reiterated his stance that lawmakers should be required to “hold the floor,” or deliver continued remarks in the Senate chamber, in order to maintain a filibuster.

What happened after Thurmond’s “hold the floor” filibuster? A straight party-line, strictly partisan vote on that bill. Just as would have been done were the filibuster abolished outright, only with a few hours’ delay.

The point of a cloture vote of 60 or more Senators agreeing to bring a bill to the floor for debate—even strictly partisan debate—is to force a measure of bipartisanship to legislation, even if it’s only a matter of some Senators from the minority party agreeing enough with the bill to debate it.

Requiring “holding the floor,” requiring Senators to speak to exhaustion, as the means of filibustering is no filibuster at all. It only delays the strictly partisan, party line, vote for some hours.

An honest Senate, a truly deliberative body, will keep the cloture vote filibuster.

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