A Senate ruling in 2013 eliminated the rule concerning a supermajority vote that was required to end debates. The ruling meant that merits votes were given power to take over from the supermajority votes. Prior to the 2013 ruling, the cloture rule was dominant that required 60 votes from the Senate to end debates (United States Senate, 23). The cloture rule which has been amended several times most notably 1975, supported filibusters in the Senate. The 1975 ruling made filibusters easier since Senators were not required to hold the floor of the Senate for longer periods. Therefore, some Senators could take advantage of this rule and make long speeches that delayed some serious debates. The 1975 ruling also required a three-fifth vote rather than two-thirds votes that were required by previous legislation (Watts, 6-13).
With the tendency of American politics to have divided views, it will be very hard for any party to get 60 votes that can end a debate. For this reason, debates will not be ended easily using filibuster tactics since the 60 votes is almost unachievable on matters that are not very demanding. The cloture rule of 1975 and other amendments later gave the minority party powerful tools to block actions. One Senator could take advantage of the filibusters to kill very important bills with long speeches. The delaying tactics can be utilized by the opposition party in its attempts to destroy the bills proposed by the ruling party. On the other hand, filibusters can be utilized by the ruling party to kill any attempts by the opposition party to make legislations.
As much as filibuster has been criticized, the idea of unlimited debates in the Senate is not very bad. The debates give the minority party power to make contributions to the Senate. However, the minority party could only benefit from the cloture rule if it had at least 41 seats. It must be commanding significant portion of the country to have such number of seats. The filibusters can force the government to be considerate of its actions by reducing radical actions taken by the government. The filibusters are also important because Senators are sensible and know when and how to use the filibusters. For instance, budget bills cannot be compromised by filibusters. The Senate does not use delaying tactics when passing legislation regarding budget. Contrary to this, filibusters may be used to eliminate non-budgetary items that might be attached to the budgetary bills (Wawro and Eric, 12).
Procedural filibusters are advantageous to the Senate since the Senate can soon change to other business matters when it notes that a debate cannot has been hijacked through a filibuster speech. However, the procedural filibusters can benefit the minority in its attempts to block government’s legislations. It could compromise the activities of the government since very debate that encounters a filibuster is put off. Filibusters are useful in moderating the Senate because the ruling party is forced to make concessions with the minority party. The minority cannot give up everything with the filibuster rule in place. It has the power indirectly question a bill on the floor of the Senate. The rule was in contention in 2005 when the President Bush appointed some judges who encountered a filibuster by the Democratic Party. The filibuster was successful since the two parties came to an agreement to eliminate some nominees (Watts, 43).
The United States Senate. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Senate, 2013. Print.
Watts, Duncan. Dictionary of American Government and Politics. Edinburgh [Scotland: Edinburgh UP, 2010. Print.
Wawro, Gregory J., and Eric Schickler.Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the U.S. Senate. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2006. Print.