WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken has introduced a “reverse-cloture” bill that would shift the burden of filibustering from the majority to the minority.
Currently, lawmakers have to find 60 votes to end a filibuster. Franken’s bill doesn’t exactly change the math, but puts the onus on the minority party instead by making them find 41 votes to keep one going.
That’s an important distinction, as several cloture votes this year on key issues like the health care overhaul and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell have failed while having fewer than 60 votes to cut off and having fewer than 41 to continue. Under Franken’s plan, those votes would have gone the other way.
“I respect the right of the minority that feels intensely about a great issue to continue debate,” Franken told MinnPost late Wednesday. “But the burden should be on the minority to continue that debate, not on a supermajority to end it.”
His legislation comes in addition to the five-point plan proposed by a group including New Mexico’s Tom Udall and Amy Klobuchar, which would end anonymous holds and force filibustering senators to actually stand and speak. Franken is a co-sponsor of that measure.