Since 1975 the filibuster has given the minority in Congress a way to obstruct all legislation introduced by the majority.
That may change soon
When Sen. Joe Manchin, a blue dog Democrat, said he was open to introducing a "painful" addition to the filibuster, Democrats saw a game-changing opportunity to remake the Senate and lift a key obstacle to a progressive agenda.
Manchin, the most outspoken Democratic supporter of the filibuster, has decided to soften the political maneuver, but not do away with it entirely.
What does a "painful" filibuster look like?
The idea is to test obstructing senators by forcing them to talk in order to halt legislation.
This move would end the filibuster as it currently exists, while still allowing a determined minority to slow down or scuttle bills.
It would also enable a resolute majority to outlast them. The only way this can happen is if all 50 democratic senators, plus VP Harris, unify behind the change.
And Manchin says he's onboard.
Under the current rules the majority has to find 60 votes or the bill stalls.
The proposed change would require a group of 41 senators to hold the floor and take turns talking incessantly - to air their grievances with the legislation being considered.
One of two things will happen:
The majority party will lose its nerve and pull the bill, or the number of senators will fall under 41 and enable the majority to advance the bill with a three-fifths majority.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer summed up the proposed move to AP, "All I can tell you is we need big, bold action. And we have to figure out the best way to do it."
One thing is for sure, the Democrats have to sidestep the Republican's obstruction or no more important bills will be passed.
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