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Democrats Push Change to Senate Filibuster Rule

Posted at: 11/11/2012 9:12 AM
By: ALAN FRAM, Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A brewing and potentially bitter battle over Democratic efforts to limit filibusters could increase partisan tensions in the Senate just as President Barack Obama and Republicans are trying to find a compromise on major issues such as debt reduction and taxes.

There could be a showdown Senate vote in January that would put limits on filibusters, which minority parties long have used to try thwarting majority legislation.  The filibuster rule has essentially changed standard procedures so that 60 votes are needed to pass any bill through the 100-member Senate.

But even before that vote, the simmering dispute could mar the cooperative tone that Obama and GOP leaders have struck since Tuesday's election.

Bipartisan compromise will be needed during Congress' upcoming lame-duck session to avert the "fiscal cliff" in early January. That's when major tax increases and spending cuts will be triggered unless lawmakers head them off.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)