GOP's Frist: Senators overdoing filibuster

Feb. 26, 2010 at 2:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The filibuster has been used "way too much" in recent years in the U.S. Senate, by both Republicans and Democrats, former GOP Sen. Bill Frist said Friday.

Frist, a Tennessee Republican, retired in 2007 after four years as majority leader and two terms in the Senate.

At the end of President George W. Bush's first term, when Democrats had just lost their Senate majority, there were "10 consecutive filibustered judges." Frist told MSNBC.

"The use of the filibuster, compared to 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago -- it's being used way too much," Frist said. "I think it's symbolic of the partisanship, the lack of comity here."

Asked if Republicans are overusing the filibuster, he said "Yeah, I think so."

Frist wrote an op-ed piece published Friday in The Wall Street Journal urging Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to drop any thought of using reconciliation to get a healthcare bill to the floor. The tactic would side-step a Republican filibuster.

Frist cited Thomas Jefferson, who called the Senate "the cooling saucer" of the political process, and the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan, D-N.Y., who said significant legislation needs bipartisan support.

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