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Dems to Revisit Party Unity Against Filibusters When Massachusetts Appoints 60th Senator

Newscom / Ron Sachs

After Arlen Specter switched parties, but before Ted Kennedy passed away, this idea had gained traction among liberals and party leaders alike. Behind the scenes, Democrats were pressuring the conservatives in their party to stand united on procedural votes. And in public, progressives--most notably Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)--were making the case to the base.

Of course, the strategy's always been a tough sell to the Ben Nelsons and Mary Landrieus of the party, who would be giving up much of their leverage by agreeing in advance to vote for cloture on a health care bill. But reformers and party leaders are in agreement on the the idea, and it's in some ways such a no-brainer that, once Massachusetts acts, it will get a second look.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at