Hannah Simon

The Filibuster Question

Too often, the question on the filibuster gets asked in the abstract, but it’s not an abstract question. Key elements of the Biden agenda will fail if the filibuster remains in place. Moving forward, it will be important to frame the filibuster question in concrete terms, since this is how senators will face it. In addition, it is also important to challenge mythical historical narratives and underscore the limited time that a period of unified Democratic control of Washington has to implement any legislative victories.

Democrats Inch Toward Possible Historic Move on Filibuster

“Folks, we are approaching the end of Act I. Biden, Manchin and Feinstein have all shifted in a positive direction,” tweeted Adam Jentleson, a former Democratic Senate aide and author of a book on the filibuster, “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy.”

Opinion | Goodbye and good riddance to the filibuster

The 60-vote standard for passing most legislation is really the product of the past 20 years, Jentleson said, and has been truly routine only since 2007.

At the beginning of the republic, he noted, “there was no filibuster.” Then, “there was the talking filibuster, used rarely, mostly against civil rights. Then there was a slow rise [in its use] through the latter half of the 20th century, then it skyrocketed under Sen. McConnell,” Jentleson said to me in an interview. Little wonder, as the author noted, that the word filibuster comes from Dutch references to pirates.

Biden Endorses Filibuster Rule Changes

“We need to build a record that could be passed immediately that is failing on the filibuster,” said Adam Jentleson, a former top aide to Mr. Reid during the 2013 showdown who has written a new book that attacks the filibuster, arguing that it has destroyed the Senate and impeded public policy that has broad national support.

McConnell Threatens To Grind Senate To Halt If Dems Don’t Let Him Keep Power To Grind Senate To Halt

“Trading this for the ability to actually pass bills like voting rights seems like an easy call,” Adam Jentleson, a former Harry Reid staffer and current anti-filibuster activist, wrote on Twitter. “If McConnell’s tactics become truly onerous, Dems can always pass further reforms to end obstruction. McConnell’s goal is to make government fail, Dems’ goal should be to make it work.”

‘A tremendous sea change’: Democrats see a path to remaking the Senate filibuster

This was a pivotal week, said Adam Jentleson, a former Senate Democratic leadership aide and author of the book “Kill Switch,” which argues that the filibuster is crippling American democracy. “Manchin’s comments were certainly encouraging, but the most important thing may be the fact that zero Republicans voted for the American Rescue Plan. I think that drives home the need for reform more than anything else.”

Joe Manchin Decides Whether Biden’s Agenda Lives or Dies

“There’s sort of two parts to the filibuster,” Adam Jentleson, author of Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy, tells The New Republic. “There’s the talking part in the Jimmy Stewart style, and then there’s the supermajority threshold. And they used to be separate.”

Joe Manchin Offers a Glimmer of Hope for Filibuster Reform

But Senate experts say they interpreted Manchin’s comments as evidence that he was moving in the direction of filibuster reform. “From where I sit, it’s a very positive development,” tweeted Adam Jentleson, a former aide to onetime Sen. Harry Reid and author of a new book, Kill Switch, about the modern Senate and how to fix it.