Gibbs: President Supports Filibuster Reform Regardless of Election Results

Posted October 28, 2010 at 3:59pm

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs expanded on President Barack Obama’s call for filibuster reform Thursday, saying the president would support changes to the process even as Senate Democrats stand to lose seats and possibly the majority.

Gibbs said at a press briefing that while there are “reasonable uses and there are irrational uses” of the filibuster, the administration is interested in governing, not “sport.”

“It’s not always just about who’s up and who’s down and who wins,” he said. “That’s the crazy viewpoint of this administration. I think it’s what drove most people to come here — whether the rules and the atmosphere of this place have largely corrupted some into believing that this is all about stopping you from doing this and me from doing that.”

Because the Senate’s rules permit unlimited debate, lawmakers have turned to long speeches and other time-consuming tactics, known as filibustering, to sink or demand changes to legislation. To thwart a filibuster, three-fifths of all Senators — 60 if there are no vacancies — must vote to invoke cloture, which limits debate.

But 60 votes have been difficult to achieve, and Obama said during an appearance on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” on Wednesday that the process “needs to be changed.”

Gibbs did not have details Thursday about the change Obama has in mind.

Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.