Friday, January 02, 2004

Democrats consider change to filibuster rule; Republicans outraged.

In Maryland.

Maryland Republicans employed the filibuster twice last session: first to block a vote that would raise corporate income taxes, then to block a vote that would place speed cameras in residential neighborhoods. (Apparently, the Maryland Republican Party supports lower corporate income taxes and speeding in residential neighborhoods.) Neither filibuster lasted longer than two hours, but in order to end them, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., had to cajole several conservative Democrats to vote for cloture.

He didn't like that, so he's suggested a rule change: rather than require a two-thirds vote to invoke cloture, he'd require a three-fifths vote. (Notably, that's the same rule as is currently in effect in the United States Senate.) Naturally, Maryland Republicans are unhappy.

To me, it seems like a drastic solution to a comparatively small problem.