Our founding fathers set up a wonderful set of rules for us to govern by in our Constitution. Some would make some changes such as replacing the electoral college system of electing presidents with a popular vote system, but, by and large it's a great and timeless document. It is very specific on voting requirements for some issues such as requiring the Senate to have a two thirds majority of the members present to impeach a president. Surprisingly, though, the Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings on ordinary passages of legislation.
One of the ways Congress utilizes the built-in flexibility of the legislative process provided by the Constitution concerns how debate on an issue is controlled. Debate can be unlimited on a piece of legislation and, therefore, those opposing a piece of legislation can conduct what is called a filibuster, first used in 1851, in an attempt to kill it through sheer fatigue and frustration by talking incessantly when given the floor. The only way to stop this is through cloture, a mechanism that ceases debate if three fifths(60) of the Senators agree to do so.
The result of this Senate rule, as we have seen in the recent health care debate, is that the minority can wield great power over the majority unless they can reach that magical number of 60 votes. Seeing this, the Senate voted to reduce the number of votes required to bring cloture from two thirds(66) to three fifths in 1975. It used to be rare that these tactics were employed, but now, in this age of partisanship just for the sake of partisanship, it is commonplace. So, it may be time to reduce that number once again.
To ensure that the majority actually rules and not the minority I suggest, along with others, that it be changed to a simple majority of 51. Read the following quote from Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers: (As printed in "The 5000 Year Leap" by W. Cleon Skousen.)
"To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is
always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision) is, in
its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser
number".The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or something approaching
towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to
security. But its real operation is to
embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to
substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent,
or corrupt junto to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable