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2020 Dems take aim at filibuster, say Senate tradition should 'go the way of history'


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Add Beto O’Rourke to a growing list of Democratic presidential candidates who are considering scrapping long-standing Senate procedure in hopes of passing a sweeping progressive agenda should they make it to the White House.

Under siege is the filibuster, the longstanding Senate tradition requiring 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to advance a bill, effectively allowing the minority party to block legislation.


“I think that that’s something that we should seriously consider,” O’Rourke told reporters on the campaign trail in New Hampshire earlier this week.

“We have to look at some of these institutional reforms, whether it’s the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the filibuster in the Senate, we’ve got to get democracy and our institutions working again,” explained the former three-term congressman from Texas.

On the same day that O’Rourke entertained the idea, a rival for the Democratic nomination also opened the door to the idea of dispatching with the filibuster.

“When you talk about changing the filibuster rule I understand that we are heading, right now, we are heading that way,” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said in an interview on "Pod Save America." “I’m going to tell you that for me that door is not closed.”

The comments mark an increasing appetite in the 2020 Democratic field for challenging longstanding political traditions and institutions -- everything from the voting age to the Electoral College to the Senate filibuster. And for Booker, his comments mark a backtrack from previous statements.

Last month, Booker told NPR that he didn’t favor eliminating the filibuster. And in an interview with Politico in January – before he formally declared his candidacy – he said “we should not be doing anything to mess with the strength of the filibuster. It’s one of the distinguishing factors of this body. And I think it is good to have the power of the filibuster.”


They were for it before they were against it. Then they'll be for it again.

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