Skip to comments.March 7,1975 Senate Votes Easier Cutoff Of Filibuster; Democrats change filibuster with 56 votes
Posted on 05/18/2005 9:28:02 PM PDT by TheEaglehasLanded
The Senate approved a historic change in the filibuster rule last night after seven weeks of angry debate. It voted 56 to 27 to reduce the number of senators needed to cut off a filibuster from two-thirds of those present and voting to a permanent "constitutional" threefifths (60 senators).
To institute a rule change it was supposed to take 67 votes at the time which was the filibuster rule. But they Democrats who were a 60 vote plus majority at the time. Also, 17 Senators didn't vote at all on such an important issue.
Can anyone get a roll call vote looked up and see who opposed, I'm sure Goldwater, Helms, and Allen from Alabama opposed. I'm sure Byrd, Kennedy, Biden, Inoway, and Leahy voted yes. Don't know who the 17 Senators who took a dive that allowed 2/3 approval.
Senate Votes Easier Cutoff Of Filibuster; Senate Passes Compromise Easing Cutoff of Filibusters
By Spencer Rich, Washington Post Staff Writer. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Mar 8, 1975. pg. A1, 2 pgs
Document types: front_page
Text Word Count 1338
Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper 76 that the Senate's role is to refuse nominations only for ``special and strong reasons'' having to do with ``unfit characters.''
Please note the last two words "UNFIT CHARACTERS."
Apparently the abstainers were motivated from voting.
But the rule was you needed 67 votes to change the rules of the senate, not 2/3 of those who bother to vote as long as we have more than 50 vote in favor.
Thought you might want to read and share this.....
Google turned up this tid bit:
A Change in the Cloture Rule
The Democratic Party scored significant gains in the congressional elections of 1974. The large numbers of new Democrats elected to the Senate and the House of Representatives were in a reformist mood, and one of the things they wanted to reform was Congress itself.
In 1975 in the Senate, the number of votes required to cloture a filibuster was reduced from 2/3 to 3/5, from 67 votes to 60 votes if all senators were present and voting. It was believed that this lowered number of votes required for cloture would make it more difficult to sustain a filibuster in future debates, and the end result would be the Senate would have an "easier time" enacting civil rights bills.
This new cloture rule did not reduce the use of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate, however. In fact, if anything, it appeared to make the filibuster a more acceptable legislative weapon, even for non-southerners. Groups of senators began to filibuster non-civil rights bills, thus requiring the Senate leadership to produce a 3/5 vote or give up on the particular bill in question. Senators found filibusters to be a particularly effective way to kill bills they opposed late in the legislative session when there was little time remaining and the leadership was anxious to enact more important bills prior to adjournment.
Michael Medved today: "Dingey Harry was bloviating today about Jefferson and Washington chatting over coffee. Unbelievable silly story, but the real joke is that COFFEE WASN'T SERVED IN THE CONTINENTAL US until a hundred years later." (..rough paraphrase).
This fact fits in nicely with the historical filibuster time line.
I have heard of a Senator recently mention this, so you know they will.
I don't know if Jefferson and Washington ever chatted over coffee, but coffee-drinking had become popular in Europe well before their time: Charles Dickens talks about Puritans in 17th-century England having their own coffee-houses, and coffee-drinking caught on in Vienna after the Turkish siege of 1683 (supposedly the Viennese found the coffee beans left behind by the Turks). I think coffee was one of the alternatives Americans turned to when they decided to boycott tea (because of the British tax on tea).
Funny how Sheets, the Dean of the Senate (as opposed to the lunatic Dean of Vermont), conveniently forgot this!!!
(I'm sure he was going to bring it up, but Frist hasn't allowed him enough time).
I would really like to know who those 17 were and do any remain there now.
Now why do I have a funny feeling that the kook mccain will be on that list?
Some of these nominees have been sitting in the "cooling saucer?" for 4 years!!
Senator Reid, stop your contradictory posturing. You're not interested in kooling these nominations, you're interested in killing these nominations. How about a little honesty?
No, it was obviously a majority of the Whole Senate that was obviously necessary-----51 votes.. This needs to get out.
In 1975 the Senators changed the filibuster requirement from 67 votes to 60, after concluding that it only takes a simple majority of Senators to change the rules governing their proceedings. As Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) said at the time: "We cannot allow a minority" of the senators "to grab the Senate by the throat and hold it there." Senators Leahy, Kennedy, Byrd, and Biden, all agreed. Nearly a decade ago, Lloyd Cutler, the former White House Counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton, concluded that the Senate Rule requiring a super-majority vote to change the rule is "plainly unconstitutional."
This site concurs.
"In 1975, Walter Mondale (Democrat-Minnesota) and James Pearson (Republican-Kansas) led the fight for a three-fifth's cloture rule using the "Constitutional option," meaning that they believed that debate over the Mondale-Pearson proposal could be brought to an end by a simple majority vote. Other Senators believed that debate over this cloture rule proposal could only be brought to an end by satisfying the cloture rule in effect from previous Senates: by winning the support of two-thirds of the Senate.
Senator Javits moved to "table" [defeat] Senator Mike Mansfield's point of order against the Mondale-Pearson cloture proposal because it was "self-executing" by demanding an immediate vote without satisfying the two-thirds cloture rule. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, acting as presiding officer of the Senate, issued a ruling that if a majority of the Senate voted for Senator Javits's "tabling motion," the Senate could proceed immediately to a vote on the Mondale-Pearson cloture rule proposal. The Senate upheld the Mondale-Pearson "Constitutional option" on three separate occasions during the period from February 1975 through March 1975. After more parliamentary maneuvering, the Senate enacted the three-fifths cloture rule by a vote of 56 to 27 on March 7, 1975."
filibuster: from the French; "filbustier", n. meaning "pirate, freebooter, buccaneer, brigand."
I think Rush has already talked about this.
This was the rule change in the 70's (submitted by Byrd?) that reduced the number of Senate votes needed to invoke cloture from 2/3 to 3/5.
In 1975 the Senators changed the filibuster requirement from 67 votes to 60, after concluding that it only takes a simple majority of Senators to change the rules governing their proceedings. As Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) said at the time: "We cannot allow a minority" of the senators "to grab the Senate by the throat and hold it there." Senators Leahy, Kennedy, Byrd, and Biden, all agreed. Nearly a decade ago, Lloyd Cutler, the former White House Counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton, concluded that the Senate Rule requiring a super-majority vote to change the rule is "plainly unconstitutional.""
"The Senate approved a historic change in the filibuster rule last night after seven weeks of angry debate. It voted 56 to 27 to reduce the number of senators needed to cut off a filibuster from two-thirds of those present and voting to a permanent "constitutional" three-fifths (60 senators)."
This change was even more extreme than it seems at first glance... it did not merely change the cloture threshold from 67 to 60... it changed it from a RELATIVE PERCENTAGE to an ABSOLUTE PERSENTAGE!
Note the phrase "two-thirds of those present and voting". That meant that cloture could be voted by as few as 34 Senators... two-thirds of the official Senate Quorum of 51 Senators!!! They didn't LOWER THE BAR... they RAISED IT!
The Washington Post was spinning the truth even in 1975. This article should read:
"The Senate approved a historic change in the filibuster rule last night after seven weeks of angry debate. It voted 56 to 27 to INCREASE the number of senators needed to cut off a filibuster from two-thirds of those present and voting, (34 senators of the Senate's quorum of 51), to a permanent "constitutional" three-fifths (60 senators)."
The Northern and Southern Armies ran on Coffee during the Civil War, hardly 100 years after Washington & Jefferson.
So sorry but you have the wrong example. Apparently what happened was that the rule was changed by a majority vote and then the Senate went back and fixed it up with a revote to get the two-third vote.
I don't think their is enough good will left in the Senate to do that this time.
McCain was a POW in 73,Stayed in the Navy til 81, and was first elected to the Senate in 85.
Rush talked about this this week. The change from 67 votes to 60 rule change.
Meeky, have you seen this??????
And for those freepers who have been screaming for a "real filibuster" this is an important point as to why it hasn't happened since 1975.
The minority party only needs to keep one person in the Senate now, whereas the majority party needs to keep at least 50 present during a filibuster. That's definitely a greater hurdle for the majority party.
With the old rules, the minority party always had to keep at least 2/3 of members present, which at 50 means at least 26 to keep it from passing. That represents a greater hardship. In addition, it allowed the majority party to have fewer people there and still maintain a quorum.
McStain wasn't elected to Congress until 1982 and won his Senate seat in 1986. In those days Arizona had a *real conservative* Senator, Barry Goldwater. :)
in that case sir, you have my sympathies
No. First I've heard of this.
You're right on the money...that's the part that often gets overlooked. It means the margin between quorum and overrule is slim...allowing dissenters to walk out to avoid cloture.
The more philosophical import of this is that it provides DISincentive to continuing discussion and debate. Our Senate is supposed to be deliberative, but this rule change made it a smart move to leave the Senate to get your way.
RS20801 - December 11, 2002 - Cloture Attempts on Nominations
RL30360 - March 28, 2003 - Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate
RL32843 - March 28, 2005- "Entrenchment" of Senate Procedure and the "Nuclear" Option
RL31948 - March 29, 2005 - Evolution of Senate's Role in Nomination/Confirmation
RL32684 - April 5, 2005 - Changing Senate Rules - The "Nuclear" Option
You may misunderstand the cloture process, which is the general subject of the topic article. The cloture vote is scheduled at a time certain. It is impossible to "spring it" using surprise. Actually, all votes in the Senate are scheduled using either unanimous consent or cloture.
http://rules.senate.gov/senaterules/rule22.htm <-- The Cloture Rule
QUORUM - ABSENT SENATORS MAY BE SENT FOR