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No, Filibusters Really Don't Promote Bipartisanship

"It just allows them to sit on the sidelines and do nothing," Sen. Chris Murphy said.
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Rachel Maddow and Sen. Chris Murphy dove into the filibuster last night after Sen. "Russian Ron" Johnson forced the public reading of the Democratic pandemic relief bill.

Murphy said Republicans would be "much less willing to use it" if they had to put on a show, and said unless it's to get something Americans really want, filibusters actually have the opposite effect.

"The reason there hasn't been a change in the filibuster rules already is, as far as we can tell from the outside, a couple of your more moderate colleagues, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin don't want a change in the filibuster bill. Can you tell us if anybody is talking to them about these things, reforming it or tweaking it to make it more meaningful. Are those things happening? They are the ones that have to be moved here," Maddow said.

"I understand folks' impatience," Murphy said.

"We are, of course, only about 30 days into the new president's term, only two months into this new session. And so we are having conversations inside the caucus about how we can reform the rules. But I don't know that we should expect that they are going to bear fruit immediately.

"Listen, I do think that there is a belief amongst some in Congress that the filibuster promotes bipartisanship by requiring members of the minority party to sign off on something before it becomes law, you are incentivizing the two parties to come together. There is really no evidence that that's how it works. In fact, because it gives the minority party veto power, it just allows them to sit on the sidelines and do nothing.

"It really has been a very long time since the Senate has done anything meaningful and bipartisan. Immigration reform back in 2013 was probably the last time. If you want to get the two parties to come together, then give the majority party the ability to move things with a majority vote. That will quickly incentivize the minority party to come to the table and get something closer to their priority list.

"I think that conversation is going to continue to happen and mature inside the caucus. My hope is that we will be able to come together around some rules of reform."

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