Opinion | Should We Put the Filibuster Out of Its Misery?

Depends on which people you talk to. Ezra Klein and Jessica Anderson join Jane Coaston to debate the Senate’s revered and reviled tactic.












By Jane Coaston

The first episode of “The Argument” with Jane Coaston as host gets right into the heart of an infuriatingly cyclical debate: Should the filibuster be killed once and for all?

Democrats control the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, giving them the opportunity to pass major new legislation — if only the filibuster wasn’t standing in their way. That parliamentary procedure effectively pushes the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate from 51 to 60. Which is why the filibuster is typically beloved by the party in the minority, and railed against by the majority.

If Democrats kill the filibuster now, what happens when they’re not in power? Arguing against the filibuster is Ezra Klein, a Times Opinion columnist and host of “The Ezra Klein Show.” Defending the procedure and its merits is Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America.

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Learn More:

Kevin D. Williamson in National Review on how filibusters are useful in a democracy.

Ezra Klein on ending the filibuster, and in conversation with a former Senate staff member, Adam Jentleson, on that chamber becoming a legislative black hole.

Heritage Action for America on rejecting efforts to abolish the legislative filibuster.

Joe Coscarelli on Daft Punk’s breakup after 28 years and six Grammys.

Thoughts? Email us at argument@nytimes.com. By leaving us a message, you are agreeing to be governed by our reader submission terms and agreeing that we may use and allow others to use your name, voice and message. Transcripts of each episode are available at midday.

Special thanks to Viki Merrick and Shannon Busta.

“The Argument” is produced by Elisa Gutierrez, Phoebe Lett and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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