REID NOT ON BOARD WITH FILIBUSTER REFORM EFFORT…. If anyone can relate to the frustrations surrounding Republicans’ unprecedented abuse of Senate filibuster rules, it’s Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). GOP obstructionism is, after all, directly responsible for Reid’s difficulties in trying to govern, a fact that the Senate leader is quick to emphasize when given the opportunity.
There are, however, some efforts underway to change the way the Senate operates. Yesterday, Reid made it clear he doesn’t think any changes are going to happen.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday dismissed an effort by some Democrats to eliminate the filibuster, saying the chamber’s procedures were designed to prevent the majority party from unilaterally changing the rules.
Minutes before a pair of colleagues formally unveiled their proposal to eliminate filibusters, Reid told reporters he adhered to the long-standing Senate rule that only a two-thirds majority could change the chamber’s rules. This high hurdle — established decades ago in an effort to prevent a party with a simple majority from ruling the chamber with an iron fist — would require eight Republicans to join the 59 members of the Democratic caucus to alter the rules, something Reid said is not going to happen.
“I’m totally familiar with his idea,” Reid said of the latest filibuster-reform resolution, from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “It takes 67 votes, and that, kind of, answers the question.”
The point, it seems, is that Reid doesn’t think Harkin/Sheehan has any chance of garnering 67 votes. He’s almost certainly right. But at least having the debate over the bill offers some hope of bringing Republican abuses to the attention of more voters — the same voters who can’t imagine why a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate can’t seem to pass legislation.
And while a two-thirds majority is probably out of the question, it will nevertheless be interesting to see who endorses Harkin/Sheehan, signaling their desire to see the restoration of majority rule. Rumor has it that Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will sign on as a co-sponsor of the reform effort, which would give it a bit of a boost.