The real facts on majority rule

The letter writer of 'Democratic tyranny 2013' (published Nov 29) and the Senate Historian interpret some facts differently.

The letter stated, 'Since 1789 the Senate has required a three-fifths majority (60 votes) in order to force an end to discussion regarding a bill or a nomination.'

According to the real facts from the Historian and on the Senate website, both Houses initially allowed unlimited debate.

The House of Representatives grew rapidly in size and unlimited debate there became unwieldy and was ended. The Senate continued unlimited debate until March 8, 1917, when Rule XXII, the Cloture Rule, was adopted. However, in 1917, it required a twothirds (64 votes at the time), NOT a threefifths, majority.

In 1975 the rule was changed to reduce the two-thirds requirement to three-fifths (60 votes). That's not 224 years.

The writer continues: 'This is majority rule that has never been acceptable in American governance.'

Really? Don't candidates in Georgia need 50 percent of the votes plus 1 to win?

And in the U. S. House, most measures are passed with a simple majority, some exceptions being veto overrides and proposed Constitutional amendments that require greater than a simple majority. If majority rule isn't acceptable, what is?

And '… Democrats have a simple majority and have no motivation to listen to opposing views.'

Some might state that changing 'Democrats' to 'Republicans' would make this true of the current House of Representatives. If at least 50+% of the Republican-controlled House refuses to bring a bill to the floor for a vote, is that listening 'to opposing views'?

The letter writer has a right to disagree with the rule change, but does that right also include ignoring real facts and pulling false 'facts' out of the air and passing them along as the truth?

Hank Wheeler 


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