Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Money Bills and the Filibuster

Gerard N. Magliocca

To piggyback on Jack's post, a sensible distinction can be made between filibusters for general legislation and filibusters involving the debt ceiling. First, the reconciliation process itself recognizes the difference. Second, Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment provides a basis for such a distinction.

Here's a third (and slightly longer) point. In my article on the filibuster a decade ago, I drew an analogy between the Senate's power to delay the enactment of legislation and the British House of Lords' power to delay the enactment of legislation. In British parliamentary practice, a sharp distinction is made between "money bills" (on spending, taxes or debt) and any other legislation. Money bills passed by the House of Commons may be delayed by the Lords for only a month. All other legislation may be delayed by a year. 

Thus, the Senate can conclude that debt ceiling legislation should be exempt from the sixty-vote cloture requirement without necessarily calling the filibuster as a whole into question. 


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