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Kill Senate filibuster or watch Biden’s agenda die

Systematic obstruction of the Senate – a rule of procedure that allows 41 senators to shut down the entire place – is not in the Constitution. James Madison never envisioned filibuster and was dead before future secessionist John C. Calhoun hatched it in the 1830s as a mechanism to block civil rights legislation.

The filibuster has become a de facto 60-vote requirement to do essentially anything in a Senate where 51 votes would otherwise constitute a majority. Some cracks have formed in the rule since the 1970s to allow budget matters and judicial appointments to move forward with a majority vote, but the filibuster is otherwise intact.

Former Senate aide Adam Jentleson wants the Senate to break the obstruction once and for all. In his new book Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and in an interview with The Daily Beast, Jentleson argues that filibuster was good policy for Republicans when Barack was president and that it will be good policy when Joe Biden is president.

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