Independent senator: 'Talking filibuster' or 'alternative' an option

Independent senator: 'Talking filibuster' or 'alternative' an option
© Greg Nash

Sen. Angus KingAngus KingAmazon, Facebook, other large firms would pay more under proposed minimum tax, Warren's office says Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures Energy information chief blames market for high fuel prices MORE (I-Maine) on Sunday said he is open to keeping some form of the legislative filibuster, proposing a "talking filibuster" or "alternative" as members of the Democratic caucus call for the procedure to be abolished in the upper chamber.

"I'm not really ready to say, 'Let's get rid of it altogether' because I think there are circumstances where it makes sense. So I'd prefer some alternative to what the present rule is. I'd like to restore the Senate to what it was, where we actually had debates and people had to hold the floor," King said while appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"And so I think some kind of talking filibuster, perhaps a rule that instead of having to have 60 votes to pass something, you'd have to have 41 votes to stop it. So that way, the minority would at least have to show up. One of the problems now is they don't even have to show up," Angus added, noting that Republicans in the minority "don't have to speak" when opposing a measure.

The Maine senator argued that this sort of opposition is not constitutional and framers of the Constitution would have been "diametrically opposed to" it.

Guest host Andrea Mitchell asked King whether he believes Democrats will be able to shore up the votes to change the filibuster, specifically asking if he believes that centrist Democratic Sens. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBiden should seek some ideological diversity Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin MORE (Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE (W.Va.) would support it.

"Well, you know, I've talked to both of them. I can't say for sure. I don't want to read minds here. I know that both of them have resisted it, as have I because once you monkey with the rule, then it's going to work both ways. It's going to come back and it could come back to bite those who want to move things forward right now," said King.

"Today's obnoxious obstruction tomorrow could be a precious shield. But when it comes to democracy, I think Joe and Kyrsten will listen."