Congressional debate is ready to commence on the Senate filibuster. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wanted the Senate to be the “anchor” of government, allowing time for bills to be debated and examined, or as George Washington coined, a place for bills to be “cooled” by the passions of the House of Representatives.

Some, however, charge that during the 111th Congress the filibuster was abused beyond the founders’ intent, and propose that it should therefore be eliminated. Others, apprehensive of total elimination, argue that it should be amended, so that the procedure is weakened enough to allow passage of more legislation; and still others maintain it should be left alone.

So, currently, what is the proper role for the filibuster? Was it abused in the recent session of Congress? And how would changing this procedure actually affect everyday Americans?

Listen to Heritage experts discuss some of the history of the filibuster and its proper role, here.