Business Roundtable Statement on Senate Rules

Mar 29, 2021

As the Senate considers changes to its rules, Business Roundtable urges Members to carefully consider the long-term and wider implications of any such changes. Business Roundtable opposes efforts to alter the Senate’s longstanding practice of requiring 60 votes before ending debate and moving to final passage of legislation. The higher threshold encourages bipartisan deliberation and compromise and produces more durable legislation.  

While Members of both parties are frequently dissatisfied with the pace of the legislative process, Congress can pass effective, significant and bipartisan legislation without changing the Senate rules. Just last year, as policymakers worked to address the COVID-19 public health and economic crises, Congress enacted several important pieces of legislation on a bipartisan basis. With the 60-vote legislative threshold intact, other bipartisan legislation passed during the administrations of President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush and their predecessors.  

A shift to simple majority rule in the Senate could lead to unpredictable and unnecessarily erratic fluctuations in major policy when control of Congress changes hands.  

As business leaders, predictability and political stability are essential when making investment decisions that often look decades into the future. Significant upheaval in public policy has a chilling effect on hiring, business investment and economic recovery. Eroding the distinct and deliberative nature of the Senate would likely exacerbate political polarization and further undermine faith in American institutions. 

Business Roundtable urges the Senate to retain its current 60-vote cloture threshold. Eliminating one of the few remaining institutional tools that compel bipartisan cooperation would be a major shift in the wrong direction.