Why can’t we pass the popular legislation needed to shore up our democracy on a national level? The filibuster is one answer. The filibuster blocks policies with majority support in the Senate from even being voted on—much less becoming law. The filibuster has changed and evolved over time. In this report, we lay out that history and the case for its next evolution: “democracy reconciliation.” This reform would take the existing practice of budget reconciliation, which allows certain fiscal measures to have an up-or-down simple majority vote, and create a similar exception for voting measures. This would allow critical democracy-protection legislation the opportunity to be voted upon by a simple majority.
A version of this report also appears as a chapter in the 2022 book, Overcoming Trumpery: How to Restore Ethics, the Rule of Law, and Democracy, edited by Norman Eisen and published by Brookings Institution Press. Law Forward’s Mel Barnes and Jeff Mandell authored that chapter with Norman Eisen.