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Tonko opposes filibuster

Mar 04, 2021 12:45 pm
Emilie Munson reports in the Times Union that Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat who represents Albany County and other upstate areas, is now against the filibuster. That's the legislative rule that requires 60 votes to pass most legislation. Democrats currently control the Senate 51-50, and with the filibuster Republicans can block most legislative action. "It's important for us to really move forward and improve this process so that the people's wishes and the people's needs are granted," said Tonko. "Otherwise what we have today is a legislative graveyard ... this modern filibuster essentially gives minority leaders veto power in Congress, exactly what [James] Madison and [Alexander] Hamilton were writing about. The founders did not want this concept to take hold." But unless Democrats can change the minds of Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Democrats who have previously said they support the filibuster, it will stay the law of the land. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader, says he will do something, but does not identify what that something will be. "I believe, and I believe my caucus believes, that we need big, bold action, and we're going to figure out the best way to get big, bold action on a whole lot of fronts. We're not going to be the legislative graveyard," Schumer said March 2. "Very simply, McConnell refused to put bills on the floor. I'm putting bills on the floor. People are going to be forced to vote on them, yes or no, on a whole lot of very important and serious issues." Read more about this story in the Times Union.