Leading from the Left

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counting to 60

I tell people all the time that all you need to know about governing is how to count. On the Chapel Hill Town Council, for example, you must be able to count to 5 because that's how many votes you need to pass an ordinance. If you can add, everything else falls in place.

For the US Senate, the magic number is 60. It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring a controversial matter to a vote. And the R's have successfully been using that rule to prolong debate and block action.

Well, a new day maybe dawning. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is switching from R to D. And with that switch, and the soon-to-be-finally-over election of Al Franken in Minnesota, he gives us the 60th vote we need to move policy. Thanks, Arlen!