Thursday, November 27th, 2014

More filibusters, yes, but not as many as Biden says

Filibusters are more common today than they were in the days of Sen. Jefferson Smith.

In case you haven't heard, the traditionally blue state of Massachusetts just elected Republican Scott Brown to take the seat of the late Democratic standard-bearer Edward Kennedy.

A lot of ink has been been dedicated to what this means for Democrats in the midterm elections, the party's strength and, of course, the health care reform plan in the Senate. The upper chamber needs 60 votes to prevent a Republican filibuster on the bill, and with Brown's election, Democrats have lost their supermajority.

Vice President Joe Biden lamented this obstacle in a speech just days before Brown defeated Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley.

"As long as I have served … I’ve never seen, as my uncle once said, the Constitution stood on its head as they’ve done," Biden said at a Florida fundraiser Jan. 17, 2010, according to a White House pool report. "This is the first time every single solitary decision has required 60 senators."

We decided to check the second part of Biden's statement, that this is the first time in his political career that every decision in the Senate has required 60 votes.