Reid Waffles on Filibuster Reform

somervilletom is absolutely right. The constitution says a simple Senate majority is enough to pass legislation and the current perversion of this original intent is a subversion of our democracy. - promoted by Bob_Neer

I am horrified to report that Harry Reid is reportedly waffling on Filibuster Reform:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will postpone filibuster reform until later this month, giving him time to negotiate a deal with Republicans, say Democratic lawmakers and aides.
“I think the conversation is going to continue between [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] and Harry Reid about this. I think they’re going to see if there’s a way to reach a bipartisan agreement, they’re still talking,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).
Reid and McConnell will use a bipartisan proposal crafted by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) as the basis of their talks.

Say WHAT? This is NO time to “negotiate” ANYTHING with Republicans. This is the time to END the call-in filibuster, right now. Stop it, by a simple majority vote. Then, and only then, does it perhaps make sense to discuss other rules. John McCain could and should have made any proposals to his own leadership two years ago, when Mr. McConnell embarked on his racist scorched-earth campaign to destroy Barack Obama. Mr. McCain’s silence was deafening. Mr. McCain was supposed to be a “moderate”, and he did nothing at all to restrain the GOP lynch-mob.

We have watched the Senate be paralyzed for two long years by the thankfully-failed efforts of Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans — including John McCain — to destroy the Barack Obama presidency. John McCain and the rest of the GOP voted in lock-step on EVERY significant vote. They should now pay the price for their failed political assassination.

Millions of Democrats gave sweat, blood, tears, and money to re-elect Barack Obama, increase the Democratic lead, and put progressives like Elizabeth Warren in office. We did not do all this so that Harry Reid (or anybody else) can smile, mouth platitudes, and allow the political terrorists that held the Senate hostage for two years to retain their political assault weapons. We need to disarm them, NOW.

I invite this community to suggest and then act on ways to deliver this message, loud and clear, Harry Reid and the US Senate:

End the call-in filibuster RIGHT NOW!


19 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I totally agree, however,

    last night, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word”, he showed Reid using Robert’s Rules type procedures to get several nominations for court and department heads into the record without objection, so there may already be a deal in place and being used. Not sure, just speculation.

    • I saw that...

      and it made me wonder whether Reid and McConnell came to a quiet understanding that McConnell would let Reid confirm a huge raft of nominations without objection if Reid agreed not to change the filibuster on Day 1 (when he only needs a simple majority). Hmmm…

      • Infuriating if so

        If we have already lost the opportunity to change the filibuster rule by simple majority vote, than I will be really really pissed.

        I got the impression from the sources that I read that Mr. Reid has used parliamentary tactics to extend the first “legislative day” until after the inauguration.

  2. Liz, we need you

    Talk some sense into the Democrats on this. All the work we’ve put into getting you elected is for not if we can’t use our strong majority to get Democratic bills through the US Senate.

    RyansTake   @   Thu 3 Jan 7:14 PM
  3. Already a sensible compromise

    Unlike Frists nuclear option which would have ended the filibuster entirely and eroded minority rights to take on controversial legislation and appointments, Sen. Merkely’s so called “talking filibuster” is already a compromise.

    It does not eliminate the filibuster which Bob and other progressives called for, if anything it’s a conservative reform
    that restores the filibuster to its original purpose-allow talking and unlimited debates on contentious bills. It would force the GOP to prioritize what it wants to obstruct and verbally defend its choice before the American people. It would take a back door procedure and disinfect it with sunlight and oratory. Use the constitutional option to pass this reform and save the Senate by restoring the traditional filibuster. According to Huffpost we are two
    votes shy. Pressure Reid, Levin, Schumer, Cardin, an Feinstein ASAP!

  4. Thank goodness for that!

    We have watched the Senate be paralyzed for two long years by the thankfully-failed efforts of Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans — including John McCain — to destroy the Barack Obama presidency. John McCain and the rest of the GOP voted in lock-step on EVERY significant vote.

    Without this restraint, the Senate would be a conveyor belt of economically destructive hair-brained ideas, e.g., the “emergency” Senate bill for Sandy relief which was larded with billions of non-relief dollars. Like $50 of the $60 billion proposed. Also, the ACA which only Dems voted for.

    In the spirit of bi-partisanship, it’s a good thing to require 60 votes to close off debate.

    • Irrelevant, immaterial, and incompetent

      To quote Hamilton Burger from “Perry Mason”, your comment is incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

      The proposal is NOT to change the requirement of 60 votes to close off debate. The proposal is, instead, to require that there actually BE debate.

      The rest of your comment doesn’t merit further response.

      • Get current

        Come on, Tom…read the news. There have been additional proposals, dubbed “nuclear option lite,” which in addition to the abandonment of the “phone in” filibuster, change the amendment procedure and, functionally, the 60-vote cloture requirement.

  5. Nothing wrong with that BostonShepherd

    Sandy relief is a “harebrained idea” – that’s not what GOP stalwarts Gov. Christie and Rep. King said! Otherwise Tom is of course correct about what the reform seeks to accomplish. Besides, the majority should be able to govern. If ACA only got Dem votes so be it, and yes the GOP should be allowed to govern when they are in the majority too.

    Note to Bob about the promotion: The Constitution is not explicit about requiring a simple majority on first passage. It says a majority shall constitute a quorum and that each chamber may enact its own rules of procedure.

    • During the constitutional debates

      The authors of the constitution considered and rejected the idea of Senate super-majorities to pass legislation. It was unworkable then and it is That is why the document explicitly requires super-majorities in some cases, but not as a default. Constitutional = simple majority. Unconstitutional effort by a minority party desperately trying to hold onto power in the face of a country that is against them = current filibuster rules.

      • Super majority

        As Christopher comments above, doesn’t the Constitution allow the Senate to set its own rules of procedures? One could argue that a 60-vote cloture requirement is functionally a super-majority…but how long has that requirement been in place? I think through many changes of control in the Senate.

        Frist and Lott, when Repubs controlled the Senate, thought about a nuclear option, and rejected it as they feared it could be used against them, too, when control shifted.

    • Didn't say Sandy relief was harebrained

      Said the fact that $50 billion of non-relief spending tacked on was harebrained.

      FYI, I think the House today is introducing a $9.7 billion flood insurance bill which should pass easily, and will likely sail through the Senate.

      BTW, excellent comment on the Senate setting its own rules of procedure. Had forgotten about that.

  6. Needed right now

    What’s going on now has to stop. Bob Dole really started this abuse when Clinton took office, and the current GOP crop has taken it to an absurd level. They should at least have to hold the floor and speak, or have 41 votes on the floor to defeat cloture, with some minimum quorum to bring a cloture vote in the first place.

    Reid should have fixed this in January 2009. That he didn’t caused a lot of trouble. It was unconscionable to me not to do it in 2011. Not to do it now would go far toward killing my faith in Democratic leadership in DC entirely.

    I generally am less swept up in these procedural issues that can cut both ways. In 2006 a progressive friend was fighting like hell to defend the filibuster against Frist & Co. Those arguments seemed much less compelling once Frist agreed not to end the filibuster once feckless Dems agreed not to use it. So now we have Alito and Roberts, and thanks to them we have Citizens United and Heller, among other legal atrocities. Heck of a job, Dems.

  7. If the Democrats in the senate

    had any foresight, not to mention cojones, they would have let the Republicans carry out the nuclear option before the Democrats took back over.

    I don’t think it’s going to be politically damaging to do it now, but Dems and the country would be in a better position now.

  8. I have seen the suggestion

    somewhere that Reid is not going to negotiate in good faith with McConnell. Rather he is trying help Sen. Udall get the two additional votes he needs for this to pass. Report is Udall has 48 Senators committed. Which would be better if it meant a stay in a facility for the Republicans plus Landrieu, Pryor and Joe Donnelly (2012-progessive-hero-only-by-default).

    Holdouts in the Dem caucus include, apparently, Leahy of Vt. and Reed of R.I. Feinstein, obviously Levin, a couple others. I think Reed can be worked on.

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