Sanders Supports Changes To Senate Filibuster Rules
01/23/13 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
Senator Bernie Sanders is backing efforts to change the filibuster rules in the Senate.
Sanders says a change is needed because Republican leaders have invoked the filibuster by using it hundreds of times in recent years.
Under current Senate rules, a group of 41 Senators can block consideration of a bill by announcing a filibuster. Decades ago, they would have had to speak on the Senate floor for hours or days to maintain their filibuster but these days they just need to prove that they have 41 votes.
The Senate adopts its rules at the beginning of a new session and Sanders supports the so called "talking filibuster" option which means that senators opposed to a bill would have to revert to the old system of talking and talking.
"The Senate can make its own rules," Sanders says. "God did not create the fact that you need 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation and that is a decision made by Senate rules. It used to be 67 votes now it's 60 votes."
And Sanders says he would support a plan to require 50 votes to initiate a filibuster if GOP leaders don't reach a compromise with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid this week.
"I think if the Republicans choose not to make an agreement with us that is an option called the Constitutional option that we should go forth with."
Sanders says changing the filibuster rules will make it easier to bring critical pieces of legislation to the Senate floor for a vote.