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Conference Reports Can Be Filibustered

October 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I just want to pass along this link to what David Waldman wrote today on this over at Congress Matters.

I don’t know why so many people seem to think conference reports can’t be filibustered (David’s guesses sound pretty right on), but the fact of the matter is that they can be filibustered and they are, in fact, filibustered routinely.

This is one of the flaws with the argument that a public option can be added to the health care bill on the Senate floor once the motion to proceed has passed and just 51 votes are needed or by the House-Senate conference committee. If it’s added on the floor as an amendment, 60 votes will be needed to end the debate. And if it’s added by the conference committee, 60 votes will be needed to overcome a filibuster of the conference report. There’s really no way around the 60-vote hurdle. That’s why Senate Dems are looking at public option compromises and why they are going to want to include the strongest public option they think they can pass in the underlying bill that comes to the floor. That way, the onus will be on the Republicans and moderates to find a majority in favor of removing it.

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