Reid ratchets up pressure for filibuster reform
January 23rd, 2013
06:42 PM ET
1 year ago

Reid ratchets up pressure for filibuster reform

Washington (CNN) - Senate negotiations over filibuster reform could come to a head as early as Thursday, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is threatening to ram through broad reforms unless a deal is struck soon with Republicans.

Reid wants GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to accept a modified list of reforms that would curb the use of filibusters and streamline other procedures in order to speed up floor action.

Democrats complain that the minority Republicans deliberately overuse the filibuster to block Democratic legislation. A group of junior Senate Democrats wants Reid to pass broad reforms – including reinstating the requirement that senators conducting a filibuster speak continuously on the floor – by using a controversial method that would change Senate rules with just 51 votes instead of the 67 customarily required.

Republicans, furious they might be jammed, argue the filibuster is the only leverage they have to get roll call votes on amendments that otherwise are routinely denied them by the majority Democrats. They say if Democrats push the reforms through on 51 votes – what Republicans call the “nuclear option” – it will destroy relations between the two parties and lead to massive gridlock in the chamber.

A bipartisan group of senior members, led by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Carl Levin, D-Michigan, has offered an alternative compromise that would reduce the number of filibusters while ensuring the minority party gets votes on some amendments.

“We are going to change the way we do business here,” Reid said Wednesday. “We can do it either the easy way or the hard way but it’s going to change.”

Reid, who said Tuesday he expects talks with McConnell to conclude in 24 to 36 hours, insists he has the 51 votes needed to pass the reforms if Republicans don’t agree to a compromise.

In his most recent proposal to McConnell, Reid offered to eliminate filibusters on several procedural measures and to scale back the amount of time allowed to debate a nominee once that nomination has overcome a filibuster.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Reid did not propose requiring senators to speak throughout a filibuster because the idea does not have the support of 51 senators.

The second-ranking Democrat said Reid and McConnell “are not that far apart” and he is hopeful a deal will be reached soon.


Filed under: Harry Reid • Senate
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. PostGOP_USA

    This happened last night.

    We are hours away from a vote...

    January 23, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Eric

    I hope Harry Reid is successful, then when the Senate changes hands, which of course it will some day, the current rules will not be so constraining and the conservatives may be able to do what they want without this check.

    January 23, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Play a dirty game, and get it played back on you, when the tables turn, Reid.........and they will turn.

    January 23, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. blindbear

    How is it that changing the rules to pass the changes with 51 votes is a "controversial" "nuclear option" while abusing the filibuster and allowing one person to stop everything in its tracks is just business as usual?

    January 23, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. Marty, FL

    The filibuster has been abused and needs reform (now). A 41 rule and no more anonymous holds should be a minimum for both sides to follow.

    Silent filibusters should also end.

    January 23, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There should no threat of a filabuster only a senator acting on it.

    January 23, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Terry Taylor

    We Need filibuster reform so something can get done in the Senate other than Obstruction. This is for our country's well being

    January 23, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. Team USA

    The GOP can not win based on their lack of idea, no solutions and who they really represent. So the GOP resorts to cheating like voter supression, jerrymandering districts, saying one thing and legislating other things. Where is all the job legislative support the House Republicans ran on in 2010? All we've seen is anti-abortion bills, anti-health-care reform bills and a bunch of meaningless bills that does nothing to puting Americans back to work. In fact the incompetence of the GOP's inability to raise the debt ceining last year was the worst time in the 5 year recovery.

    January 23, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. chris

    Reid doesnt have the guts and brass ones to pull the nuclear option. He knows the reps would start objecting to every unanimous consent request...everyone...one to approve minutes, to adjourn, read every bill verbatim, to have afternoon meetings, etc....the entire senate would grind to a halt...cant wait to see how Reid backs off on this one. Durbin already threw him under the bus today.

    January 23, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  10. Mike Texoma

    If Republicans actually had a leader with a vision for the future of our country that Americans liked better than Barac Obama, life would be soooooo much easier for them. They do not have such a leader. So they obstruct. What a crock. Reid is right. Either they reach down into the guts of their party and come up with that leader – or they get out of the way. If Reid can do it he should, America is out of patience with obstructionism. John Boehner says the President is out to destroy the Republican Party. Crock number two. It seems the Republicans are bent on doing that themselves.

    January 23, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. Deanna Flores

    Harry please fight the filibuster reform !!!!

    January 23, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. Cam Spurgeon

    Please Mr Reid. Have enough courage and moxey to push this through.

    January 23, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. scott

    Come on … assure Republicans that they have the right to ask for and get roll call votes on amendments and then adopt the measure to force anyone who wishes to block something to actually stand on the floor and tell us why. The only reasonable caveat to that compromise I can see is to create a mechanism to prevent the minority party from attaching sixty gazillion irrelevant amendments as another blocking effort. How about this … unless the amendment is DIRECTLY related to the measure being considered, it must be introduced as a separate bill?

    January 23, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. Dan5404

    Destroy relations between the two chambers? What relations? I haven't noticed any since the GOP leaders decided their only goal was to make Obama a one term president. How's that working out for you,boys?

    January 23, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. trex

    ................You want the Filli.............then you must do the TALKIE................

    January 23, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. KwaiChangCain

    Rand Paul for President in 2016? GOP must be desperate. This guy voted against fiscal cliff relief, now this? These tea party guys are bad for the country. Good luck bub. Maybe get Santorum for VP? Lol, lmao,lol,lmao.

    January 23, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. Emily

    So... in which of the proposals being kicked around would a nomination be or not be subject to a filibuster? I can't quite tell from your description. Kinda an important point that you might have wanted to make perfectly clear, although Ezra Klein did just as poorly on that in his blog post today.

    I suspect you guys might now know these details, but if so, you might just want to state that those details aren't available, instead of describing things so generally that one can't tell for sure what you are saying.

    January 23, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  18. Pete

    Reid should put his foot down and treat republicans like the extremist they've acted like since Pres.Obamas inaugeration and force this change down the republicans throats..Enough is enough and voters nationwide just want policies taken care of like years ago!!!

    January 23, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  19. John Oboho

    The sooner,the better.

    January 23, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. TNPatriot

    After four years of record breaking filibusters, it's long past time to change the rules and make the GOP accountable. The filibuster of the 21st century GOP has long exhausted it's usefulness and BOTH should be put out to pasture.

    January 23, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. Name lynn

    Mitch you an them republicans is talking to much, an its look like you all not very well like. You republicans talk to much an never shut up. Obama is you all match is ball an sworen in is over, back to the fiscal cliff.

    January 24, 2013 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  22. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    its a shame this guy just doesnt go away, just another lier.

    January 24, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |