US & World

Senator Boxer supports filibuster reform

Senator Boxer after being sworn in for her fourth term in office
Senator Boxer after being sworn in for her fourth term in office
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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US Senate Democrats have introduced a proposal to water down the filibuster. California’s junior Senator gives the reform a thumbs up.

It takes 60 votes to avert a filibuster and deliver a bill to the Senate floor for a vote. Democrats – whose majority in the US Senate has shrunk to 53 – are proposing several changes.

The most important would require lawmakers who wish to filibuster to do what Jimmy Stewart did in the film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” - speak as long as they wish on the Senate floor.

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California says she likes the bill even if Democrats become the minority in the Senate. "All it says is if you’re going to filibuster, then you have to have a real filibuster. No more secret holds. You want to filibuster, you have to say why, you have to put your name out there, you have to stand on the floor, speak." Boxer says she doesn't care who’s in the majority or the minority. "I think they’re good reforms."

The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, begs to differ – he called the rules changes “a bad idea.” Democrats have postponed the vote until later this month.