February 4th, 2010
07:04 PM ET
12 years ago

Biden ponders filibuster reform

Washington (CNN) - Moments after swearing in Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, whose presence in the Senate means Democrats no longer have their 60-vote filibuster-proof supermajority, Vice President Joe Biden told reporters he thinks filibusters have been abused in recent years and that the Senate should consider reforms.

"It's a useful tool, it is legitimate. But from my perspective, having served here, elected to the Senate seven times, I've never seen a time when it's become standard operating procedure," Biden said. "You want to get anything done, you have to have a supermajority.

Biden noted that filibusters are not called for in the Constitution and the threshold was changed once before – from 67 votes to 60 votes – when it was "recognized as increasingly difficult" to get bills passed.

Biden, who spoke to reporters as he was leaving the Capitol, insisted his desire for reform is not because he and President Obama occupy the White House and are struggling to pass their legislative agenda.

"Any President in the future, having to move through anything he or she wants, requiring a supermajority, it's not a good way to do business," he said.

Biden said he asked his staff to "scrub" the issue, but said he doesn't have a view as to what a new supermajority should be.

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Stop the Nonsense

    Great idea! and this is not for this Congress but for all future ones.
    Both parties have abused the procedure and this needs to stop, especially in this age of televised proceedings.

    February 4, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. ib

    Sure Biden; didn't hear anything like this before Obama starting running into roadblocks which I hope will continue.

    February 4, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. obama the liar

    Joe Dunderhead, watch out for that foot...it's on it's way...SSHHHHHHH

    February 4, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Brian from NJ

    The problem is NOT the filibuster, or a threat of one.. it is that it is now standard practice for the party in the majority to shut the minority party out of the legislative process. If the Senate would stop acting like a bunch of two year olds (that's the House's job) the need for all these filibusters would end.

    February 4, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. kevin Stafford, VA

    So I guess Bill Clinton never got anything done, or JFK, Reagan, etc. This is just one politician being frustrated that they can no longer go unchecked. Now they must compromise and truly do what is best for our country. Bipartisanship is the only way to govern wisely.

    February 4, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. indy

    Did he see a problem with it for the Democrats? If not, leave it along. Stop changing the rules because they don't suit you. Massachusetts did the same thing when their state legislators wouldn't let a Republican governor replace John Kerry (if he had won in 2004) and then changed the law back after Ted Kennedy died. Either it's a good law or not, stop changing things just to get what you want. Do they let their children change the rules of a game part way through too?

    February 4, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Just My Opinion

    Awww .... Joe. I wish I had a measure of sympathy for you and your fellow Dems.

    On second thought ... no I don't.

    Joe ... it was YOUR political party that established the super majority principle in the Senate and NOW that you no longer HAVE that particular parliamentary weapon at your disposal, you want to change the rules.

    How typical of a career liar ... pardon me ... politician in DC.

    Sorry Joe ... the Dems have made this particular bed and you will just have to lie down in it ... Like it or not!!!

    February 4, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. demmie

    Yep. the ends justify the means, right? if the rules dont suit you, change em!! typical democrat

    February 4, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. Right Leaning Independent

    Come on children(Dems), play by the rules.. Cheaters change the rules to suit them and this is a typical strategy employed by Dems.. Stop whining and accept the fact that you lost your supermajority you bunch of cry babies...

    February 4, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. joe m

    what is it with dems wanting to change the rules when it does not seem to work for them? don't they realize that this just makes them look horrible? good grief just follow the rules and if they want people to support them more then for goodness sakes start actually doing things to make the lives of people better. americans gave them a chance in 2006 and 2008 to prove to us that they can do better than republicans in making things better. instead what they've proven is that it doesn't really matter which party is in charge, when one side has all the power they start doing dumb things. if democrats want to stop fillibusters then start proposing and working on bills that americans will support and therefore will hold republicans responsible if they choose to oppose them. otherwise, do your jobs.

    February 4, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Showtime - Tampa

    Nah – Biden NOW wants a change but it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the facts that the dems lost the super majority due to their FAR left Radical agenda.....it is just a coincidence that he brought out the suggestion now....as gullible as the kool-aid drinkers are they will probably believe it, as they probably believe that BHO isn't an ideologue.....jeesh!

    February 4, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. ForThePeople

    I love that picture of Biden swearing in Republican Senator Brown. Biden looks so thrilled: suck it up, Biden! This is just another example of the American citizens becoming fed up with those of you inside the beltway not listening to us.
    We're even more fed up with all the double-talk and double standards: preaching bipartisan then ripping Republicans when addressing Democrats; or how about giving terrorist suspects the full rights and legal representation afforded to American while 10 Americans are stuck in Haiti with one lawyer who is not explaining to them the Haitan process.
    It's obvious to the American people that Americans being held in Iran, Haiti, or American servicemembers deployed to war do not rate the time in speeches or a high enough a priority to take care of.

    February 4, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. Chris from Renton WA

    ANY bill, regardless of content or nature, is not in the best interest of the majority of Americans if it's unable to garner 60% support. It's not unreasonable for changes to be agreed to by a supermajority, particularly since many of such changes are typically not "un-doable". This is why most school levies and many state/county laws require a 60% "yes" vote – to keep some group who smells "slight majority" from being able to bowl over reasonable resistance from an opposition group and ram their agenda through. A simple majority would require only a "slight" amount of extortion for damaging changes to occur. The supermajority ensures that most REASONABLE thinking people would agree to a legal change. If you can't get 60 out of 100 votes, it's too radical and/or not-well-thought-out.

    February 4, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. John in FL

    Of course he wants it to change now that he cannot beat it. I want a two party system with checks and balances so one party cannot abuse its "supermajority". The funny thing is that the Dems couldn't align to anything anyway, even while holding the supermajority.

    February 4, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Texas Jack

    Forget it Biden enjoy the last three years of your term if not impeached before time is up. You will not be voted back. Americans are voting all Incumbents be it Republican or Democrats OUT. We are tired of a non-functioning government who will not work together like WE PAY YTOU TO DO FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE PEOPLE. Ant-Christianity and socialist groups have no place in American politics. This country was built on, "IN GOD WE DO TRUST" Put it back on our money and replace all Christian emblems and signs in the Capital. Prayers must be said at each sporting events an praise to our living God must be made. If you don't like this God fearing country I would advise you to leave at once. If need be we will march on Washington. I'M CALLING FOR ALL CHRISTIANS AND GOD FEARING AMERICANS TO JOIN TOGETHER TO RID OUR COUNTRY OF EVIL. DO IT NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

    February 4, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Jeff of Peoria

    I wonder if he would say that next year when they LOSE the Senate

    February 4, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. all the news that's fit to omit

    This is the throw everything out there strategy until they find something to dig their claws into with the help of the msm and their sheeple.

    This "useful tool" was fine when the Democraps used it over and over, but now the shoe is on the other foot and "it needs to be changed".

    Funny, I deal with this BS in Massachusetts with the changing of the rules to meet the libtards agenda, but happily the crap that they pulled with the "swimmers seat" ended up biting them in the behind.

    Hey Biden, seen any good movies lately?

    February 4, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. bess

    hilarious! sore loser?

    February 4, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. billy123

    I wounder how the Republicans will handle it when the next President is a Republican when the Dems fillbuster every bill when they are in the minority.

    Then I am sure the GOP will be in a totally aganist the fillbuster:

    February 4, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    Here we go folks, the democrats looking for ways to cheat the system. You would think after all the monkeying around with the Massachusetts laws to appoint a Senator which they got burned anyway, they would learn their lessons.

    February 4, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. Leinad Ovisroc

    There should be no supermajority. It should be a true majority, requiring a 51/49 vote to pass. In the event of a split vote, the deciding vote should come from the President.

    Pretty simple, isn't it???

    February 4, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Mickey

    Hey Joe, the fascist republican party tried that a few years back, when the Democrats took control in congress in 2006, remember?...don't stoop to the level of this new domestic terrorist organization known as the GOP.

    The filibuster plays an important part in out goverment.

    February 4, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  23. Mike O.

    Where was this proposal when this dolt was abusing the filibuster (possibly unconstitutionally) on Bush's judicial nominees? And how has he escaped unscathed from his line during the VP debate that his proudest achievement in the Senate was politicizing the judiciary?

    February 4, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. A4H

    I support the filibuster. Shut up Joe, your party use filibuster before. You can't change the rule in the middle of the game because it doesn't suit you. Live with it!

    February 4, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  25. Earl

    Our government is crippled just as drastic action is needed to lead the nation toward a brighter future. Instead of fighting for democracy abroad, let's have it here. Reduce the filibuster to where no more than 55 votes can end it.

    February 4, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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