Harry Reid Commits to Filibuster Reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is reportedly planning to push filibuster reform at the start of the next session of congress with two specific changes in mind.

“There are discussions going on now, but I want to tell everybody here: I’m happy, I’ve had a number of Republicans come to me and a few Democrats,” the Democratic majority leader told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We’re going to change the rules. We cannot continue in this way. So I hope we can get something Republicans will work with us on.

“But it won’t be a handshake,” Reid added. “We tried that last time; it didn’t work.”

At the beginning of next Congress, Reid will be able to bypass the two-thirds majority ordinarily required for Senate rule changes and approve them with 51 votes. He hopes to deny the minority at least two existing powers: one to block legislative debate from beginning, and another to filibuster silently without a critical mass of senators in the chamber voicing their opposition. Other rules changes are also under discussion.

In case you weren't aware, all sitting members do not have to be present to filibuster debate on legislation. It only requires one senator with the time and audacity.

If Reid is successful and these changes do take effect, the Senate may begin to resemble British parliament more than what we're used to seeing.

  • IrishGrrrl

    It only requires one senator with the time and audacity

    I thought I read somewhere that itonly takes the one Senator to get it started, then the Senator can leave so long as one of his staff is present, or some such nonsense. I want to see some Mr. Smith action to prove those assholes have real principles and aren’t just being intransigent dicks.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Looking forward to seeing republicans tag team reading passages out of Atlas Shrugged on C-SPAN.

    • agrazingmoose

      Maybe, just maybe, we can be treated to powerpoint slides too.

      • IrishGrrrl

        Ha! Be careful what you wish for!

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    “But it won’t be a handshake,” Reid added. “We tried that last time; it didn’t work.”

    Happy to see the the Dems catching on to the fact that the GOP has lost it’s collective mind and cannot be reasoned with. Now stick to your guns Harry!

    • D_C_Wilson

      It looks like both Reid and Obama are fed up with the shenanigans. Republicans haven’t negotiated in good faith since Bush left office.

      I think the last straw was the veterans jobs bill, where even the republicans who co-wrote the bill turned around and blocked it.

  • JWheels

    I think if Harry Reid follows through on this it can only help the Democrats in 2014. It would take away a lot of the Republicans’ bargaining power if they could no longer indefinitely hold up the nation’s business without being incredibly visible doing it. I just hope it’s enough to overcome the obstructionism.

  • Doran

    This is good. Filibuster reform is a must. That said, Reid often talks tough but then nothing happens. I hope that won’t be the case here. There’s a major opportunity here and the GOP will no-doubt fight it, just because. I hope the Dems don’t cave. If they do, the next two years are doomed.