News / USA

US Senate Approves Curbs on Filibuster

The U.S. Capitol buildingThe U.S. Capitol building
x
The U.S. Capitol building
The U.S. Capitol building
VOA News
The U.S. Senate has approved a modest curb on procedural delaying tactics, known as filibusters, that minority parties have long used to kill legislation and block confirmation of presidential nominees.  

The changes, negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reduce the number of times opponents of bills and nominees can use the filibuster. In turn, a minority party gains greater opportunity to offer amendments to pending legislation.

The new rules also impose limits on the time spent debating some bills and nominations, and compress the amount of time it takes to get a bill through the Senate.

President Barack Obama praised the deal in a statement late Thursday and said he is hopeful it will pave the way for the Senate to make meaningful progress on its legislative tasks in the weeks and months ahead. He thanked both major political parties for streamlining the process of reviewing his nominees for judicial positions.

Both sides describe the measures as part of a push to break the gridlock that has left Congress inefficient, and, in the eyes of many voters, ineffective.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin noted the growing public dissatisfaction with the ways Congress goes about its business.

"Americans are fed up and angry with the broken government. In too many critical areas, people see a Congress riven with dysfunction. Citizens see their legislature going from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis. They see a legislature that is unable to respond effectively to the most urgent challenges of our time," Harkins said.

Republican Senator John McCain described the end results that he hopes the new rules will achieve.

"The object, and I believe the outcome, of this hard-iron compromise will be a greater degree of comity in the Senate which will allow us to achieve the legislative goals that all of us seek," McCain said.

Filibustering is a time-honored tactic in the U.S. Senate. But it was used only rarely, and then usually for the most controversial legislation before Congress.

In recent years, however, filibusters by individual senators were used to block action on many pieces of legislation and presidential nominations. Overturning a filibuster requires the consent of at least 60 of the 100 senators in the upper house of Congress - a measure of agreement that was very often too difficult to reach on controverial issues.

Many analysts say chronic overuse of tactics such as the filibuster has all but halted legislative progress entirely in Washington.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs