One Chart That Explains Why Some Senators Are So Desperate To Change The Filibuster

Right now the Senate is embroiled in its own bitter fight while the White House tries to ink a deal on the Fiscal Cliff with the House of Representatives. 

According to POLITICO, Republicans are currently outraged over the attempts of some Democrats to reform the filibuster, a tool designed to protect the minority party. 

The argument from the Democrats is that the current evolution of the filibuster has led to constant gridlock due to the ease of implementation. No longer does a senator have to mount an hours-long speaking campaign, as seen in the film Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

Instead, one senator can block all debate by just alerting leadership that he was now filibustering from the comfort of his office. 

Here’s the chart that hammers home the point of why some Senators are so eager to bring the filibuster back to its loquacious roots. In order to end a filibuster, three fifths of the Senate must vote for Cloture.

This chart shows how much that’s become a necessity recently:

Filibuster numbers

Photo: Chart: Walter Hickey / BI, Data: U.S. Senate

Attempts to filibuster peaked during the 111th congress, after the Republicans were relegated to the minority. 

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