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The Contender
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The U.S. senate should abolish the filibuster

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,828 times Debate No: 44088
Debate Rounds (3)
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The U.S. senate should abolish the filibuster
filibuster-the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a member of a legislative assembly to prevent the adoption of a measure generally favored skepticism or to force a decision against the will of the majority
U.S. senate-the upper house of the United States Congress

It won"t do harm to the government
The power can be abused


Far from destabilizing democracy, ending the filibuster would strengthen our political system by reducing skepticism in government
we want to strengthen the political system and reduce the skepticism of the government
When voters of either party send elected officials to Washington with a clear instruction for change, the filibuster stops them from accomplishing most of what the voters want, and inactivity confirms popular suspicions about government"s inability to improve citizens" lives
it would reduce the amount of skepticism by making the government a lot more responsive or quick to react to the voters of the U.S. therefore improving our lives
this would especially help after elections were it was a landslide and it was very clearly dominated
The power of the filibuster can be misused
the filibuster, especially in its present smooth form, creates a supermajority needed to enact federal legislation
this gives unfair advantages and will be misused by many people and it will be effective for many
but there is no supermajority requirement to enact ordinary legislation that the President does not veto, though the framers of the Constitution may have known that there were filibusters in the House of Commons and if so may have realized there could be filibusters in the Senate
The reason is that it benefits all Senators, not just those who expect to be in a smaller number, because it arms every Senator to demand an exception in exchange for voting for cloture


I am relatively new to this website, so please excuse my style, I"m big on point by point rebuttal.

My counters to your argument would be

1) While eliminating the filibuster might reduce skepticism in the political process, it may lead to people feeling cheated by the system if their view is not in the majority.

2) Voters all want "change" in the political system, but there are numerous factions throughout the country, and the balance of power in congress shifts frequently. For instance, voters in the Northeast are more likely to support gun control while voters in the Pacific Northwest or the Deep south are more likely to oppose gun control. The south east is more likely to have anti abortion legislators then the west coast. So while most senators are elected with "mandates" from their state, the issues the voters of each individual senator that they expect to resolve are far different.

3) The system set up in the constitution is not meant to encourage quick change, in fact the separation of powers is intended to make legislating on controversial issues difficult.

4) While filibusters can be misused, they are preferable to allowing any legislation passed in a 50+1 fashion.

I believe a super majority should be required to pass new legislation, the use of filibusters gives relevance to the minority of a political debate and forces the majority to address those issues in order to pass legislation. Therefore it increases the likelihood that a mutually agreeable deal can be worked out or that the majority party can agree to support an issue championed by the opposing side.

Another issue is that federal legislation is very difficult to repeal and in many cases, the status quo is preferable to passing a bad law, the ability of the senate to hold up bad legislation until it is fixed is a valuable option.
Debate Round No. 1


I think that this debate is not going to be one of a most official attitude. My argument continues.
Senator Harry Reid"s recent pledge to reform the filibuster is welcome, but in an era of extreme polarization, modest procedural change won"t enable the government to fix critical problems like global warming. President Obama should encourage Senator Reid to oversee the elimination of the filibuster now, while neither party controls Congress, so that legislators have time to adjust before the return of one-party rule and the consequent enactment of more aggressive legislation.

When voters elect officials with a clear mandate for change, the filibuster prevents them from accomplishing much.
Members of both parties fear that eliminating the filibuster would jeopardize cherished programs. But President George W. Bush"s failed attempt to privatize Social Security contains an important lesson about policy continuity. He did not fail because Democratic senators threatened a filibuster, but because the public supports Social Security. If activists believe strongly in a program that the other side wants to gut, they should convince the public of its merits and then rely on popular will, not the filibuster, to preserve it.

Far from destabilizing democracy, ending the filibuster would strengthen our political system by reducing cynicism in government. When voters of either party send elected officials to Washington with a clear mandate for change, the filibuster prevents them from accomplishing most of what the voters want, and inaction confirms popular suspicions about government"s inability to improve citizens" lives. Eliminating the filibuster would reduce cynicism by making government more responsive to voters, especially after landslide elections.

Counterintuitively, killing the filibuster would curtail polarization as well. If politicians ever delivered on extreme pledges that lacked majority support, for example privatizing Social Security, they would be punished harshly at the ballot box. The filibuster allows candidates from both parties to run on extreme positions that they know will never become law; its absence would encourage moderation over time.

As dysfunctional as the filibuster may be, minority factions used to have many more options for obstructing deliberation in the House and the Senate, both of which have curtailed procedures that once impeded majority rule. President Obama should urge Senator Reid to align himself with this proud tradition, and to work with members of both parties who believe that Congress"s proper role is to reflect, not stymie, the will of the people.


1. Global Warming is different subject entirely, dragging it in here is uneeded, but why is the federal government the only way to fix that "problem"?

2. I"ve already rebutted that, no one candidate has a mandate for change from the entire country

3. The Filibuster and discussion surrounding it lengthened out the process, whereas a 50+1 majority would"ve eliminated it in one fell swoop. It would not have been re-enacted even if democrats won. The threat of filibuster saved the program.

4) The Federal Government has no duty to be "responsive" to voters. Voters are generally, not a well informed group, subject to rapid manipulation by the media, and will go on frenzies before learning the truth, and often even after then, just look at the recent Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. The majority of people in the country were convinced for a period of time that Zimmerman was hunting some innocent black kid and shot him for no reason, and they edited tapes, refused to show pictures of injuries to Zimmerman, never showed maps of the area in context with the phone calls. And huge segments of the population wanted to amend self defense laws right away because the media told them the law allowed you to kill people and get away with it".

I don"t want the full power of the federal government immediately responsive to the will of low information voters. I don"t care if I agree or disagree with the present craze. Being deliberative and slow in making law helps insure good law is being made, as opposed to laws passed in response to moral panic that become impossible to repeal.

5. Even if senators and politicians are punished "at the ballot box" the laws they passed 50+1 style will still be law, and very rarely is law ever repealed.

6. What is "The will of the people" how is that measured? Who records that? Why is "the will of the people" automatically right? It used to be the "will of the people" that you could own people as property, or that women stay at home away from school or jobs"..

will of the people is a silly argument. And as I"ve covered, allowed the federal government to oppress everyone in the country because 51 people are convinced they"re doing the right thing is a recipe for disaster"..
Debate Round No. 2


You do realize that I am just messing around and having fun.


EMNofSeattle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hierocles 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: EMN should not of forfeited his rebuttal. Pro provided a good resolution and overall argument