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Reid nixes filibuster reform effort

By Paul Kane
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."

Later, Harkin and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced their resolution that would change the Senate procedure -- officially amending what is known as Rule 22, outlining the requirements to choke off a filibuster -- to allow a four-step process that would eventually allow a majority of just 51 votes to end debate and move to final passage of a bill. The first such vote, known as a cloture motion, would require 60 votes; if that failed, the next cloture motion on the same legislation would require 57 votes and then, if that failed, the next hurdle would require 54 votes, and the next would require 51.

"In the 71 years since Hollywood filmed 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington', the aim of the filibuster has been turned completely upside down," Harkin said.

The number of cloture motions the majority has to file has risen by sharply in the past 15 years, by about 75 percent, according to Harkin's estimate. With more than 40 cloture votes so far since the start of the 111th Congress in January 2009, this Senate is on pace to record the second-largest number of filibuster roll calls ever.

Democrats complain that Republicans have forced Reid to file for cloture on non-controversial items and nominations. Harkin noted that last year Republicans forced cloture votes on a bill to extend unemployment benefits, then ultimately agreed to approve the bill on a 98-0 vote.

Republicans, who tried to rein in filibusters when they were in the majority in 2005, have no intention of supporting any such effort this time around. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently told The Post that the GOP effort five years ago was "dumb idea."

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a freshman, has introduced a more radical rule change along the lines of that proposed by Republicans in 2005. Called the "Constitutional Open," it would call for the Democrat presiding over the Senate -- presumably Vice President Biden at the start of the next Congress in January -- to declare that the Senate is not a "continuing body" and does not have to abide by the rules passed decades ago, that it can on a simple majority vote approve its own new package of rules.

Inside the Senate, this is sometimes called "the nuclear option", because it would so tear away at the framework of the Senate for the last 150 years. If any majority party executes this device, the minority is likely to retaliate with weeks and months of other parliamentary delay tactics.

In his answer to reporters' questions, Reid indicated he did not believe Udall's approach was correct. He said "the rule change" would take 67 votes, reaffirming his previous position in 2005, when Reid fiercely defended the minority's right to filibuster and argued that the Senate was bound by its past rules until the supermajority acted to change them.

By Paul Kane  |  February 11, 2010; 4:21 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama  
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Comments

They've got to end the 60-vote rule now.

Friends, show your support here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Changing-the-US-Senate-rules-bring-back-democracy/278379601906?ref=mf

Posted by: pschurm | February 12, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

What difference would it make if "the minority is likely to retaliate with weeks and months of other parliamentary delay tactics?" The answer is: none on the big issues; alot on the small ones. The fact is that the Democrats should stop the trains and force the Republicans to deliver actual filibusters and see the People turn against them as progress ceases on many fronts. Call their bluff and they in fact wil stop bluffing. Otherwise, the People will make the incumbernt D's pay in November -- because we don't like what we are seeing right now.

Posted by: nicksak | February 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

From what I see posted here by many posters, I would think Reid is a lot smarter that some of his supporters. Here's why. The republicans considered this very thing when they had the majority but didn't do it. I betcha they are glad now that they didn't. OK, what Reid realizes is that sooner or later(hopefully sooner) the republicans will have a majority in the senate and therefore the power desired by some here. That means the power you want now will be handed to the republicans. Is that what you want? I much prefer the senate as it is now without either party having a super majority because it requires at least a semblance of bipartisanship to get anything done. Unfortunately, it also leads to actions such as Nelsongate, Landrieu and the 300 million and lastly the handout to the unions.

Posted by: gfafblifr | February 12, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Harry , your not coming back after your next election. Why don't you finally show some people your a man, and you have a PAIR. You are going down as the weakest, most spineless Leader of the Senate in History. oh yea why don't you take Nelson, Lincoln, and the other blackmail for votes Senators with you.

Posted by: mpjredsox | February 12, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The Constitution gives a special enumerated power to the Vice-President to break ties. The Senate filibuster rule, when it is used continuously as the Republicans are now using it eliminates this Constitutional provision. Though the Constitution gives the Senate the power to create its own rules, it cannot constitutionally enact a rule that supersedes the Constitution itself. Thus, a simple majority MUST be able to change such a rule AND the President of the Senate should so properly rule.

It is really sad how poor a leader Reid is. I won't shed a tear if he loses his race, Democrat though I be.

Posted by: optimyst | February 12, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

To: JoeT1

Hey Joe. I did read the article and, if you actually could read what I wrote, I referred to some of them, not all of them.

As for bashing the democrats, I do not need to do that. They are much better doing it to themselves than I am doing it to them. And that's no spin, whatever the heck you meant by that.

Posted by: apdseal | February 11, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

What a ridiculous assertion. Each congress is a new congress... not a continuing body. The rules can be and should be amended at the beginning of the next session. This particular congress cannot change them without a super majority because the rules were already agreed to.

Posted by: gjcomm | February 11, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I could just SCREAM! Can Harry Reid not see that the filibuster is used more often as a tool of abuse than one of justice? The man in shooting himself and his party in the foot.

Posted by: LCSWquilter | February 11, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Senator Harry Reid has outlived his usefulness in the position of Majority Leader and probably as a senator. Anybody that thinks that the filibuster needs to be preserved or that we should have rules and procedures that violate the representative process does not deserve to hold office in America. The filibuster is ruining the ability to govern, and the American people are suffering for it. Reid needs to be replaced.

Posted by: peter777 | February 11, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

A real filibuster won't work. It is NOT the 41 Republicans who must stand, and talk, and talk, and talk. Because the vote for "Cloture" is called by the Majority Leader who then needs 60 votes to pass the Cloture motion and stop the filibuster. So even if the Republicans don't show up, Harry Reid CANNOT invoke Cloture because he does NOT have 60 votes.
The rule was changed. In the old days - Mr. Smith goes to Washington - you had to filibuster to keep debate OPEN. NO LONGER!! Now you have to get 60 votes to CLOSE debate. Maybe this is the rule that should change back so that it takes 41 votes to keep debate open. Then any time there were less than 41 votes to keep debate open it would close. How about that?

Posted by: abowers1 | February 11, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I want the democrats to stop the filibuster practice. I want the filibuster option to be not available ever again. It is disgraceful to let any one person to stop government from doing its job by in effect, saying, "I will not allow." Mr. Reid, take a poll and see how many people outside the beltway are for, or against, filibustering. Perhaps you will be the one not re-elected next time if you are not able to act on important issues because the opposition can just say “no”. I hope the president urges the House to remove the filibuster option. As is, we have a legislature that is ungovernable because of the filibuster practice. If the legislature does not stop this practice, the government will not be any better no matter who we elect to serve in the next congress or even the next presidential election. Somebody will always choose to filibuster just because they can. Please stop it!

Posted by: ThelmaMcCoy | February 11, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Presumably Ms. Reid showed Harry his *honey do* list starting in January and he realizes haw much he will actually have to get done after the November election.

Posted by: jimjinphx | February 11, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I will say this for Democrats in the Senate. They have to basically take the risks.

Republicans can sit back and if something doesn't happen (or happen fast enough) they can jump on Democrats for it. Public perception will see a rule change as radical, and while public opinion of the obstructionism going on with the GOP is also low, I don't think it's considered as "radical".

As such, if the Democrats get rid of the fillibuster and things don't turn out too well with health care, they will basically be annihilated. If things do go well, the GOP isn't any worse off than before really. In my opinion the GOP has everything to gain and nothing to lose by standing in the way of government and trying to force the Democrats to extreme measures.

Posted by: pyradius | February 11, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Contemporary scholars point out that in practice, narrow Senate majorities were able to enact legislation.[20] Majorities were able to prevail because of an implicit threat that the filibuster could itself be changed by majority rule if the minority used it to prevent, instead of merely to delay, votes on measures supported by a bare majority.[20]

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2009/12/history-of-senate-filibuster.html

Posted by: pyradius | February 11, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

In the United States Senate, the Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless 3/5ths of the Senate (60 out of 100 Senators "duly chosen and sworn")[15] brings debate to a close by invoking cloture. According to the Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could however be achieved by a simple majority:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=144&invol=1

Posted by: pyradius | February 11, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Some believe in fighting fire with fire. Others apparently believe in the stop, drop, and roll over approach.

Posted by: pyradius | February 11, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

BS, Mr. Reid. We expect you to work. Work, in your position, means producing providing services at least equal to your pay. You are being paid more than most of us. Do not defend practices which further limit the little work you've been getting done.

We, the people, are the shareholders here. Seeing a continuing circle-jerk going on in this business of ours does not make us happy, to say the least. Hearing you say that you can't change the rules because you might be the man in the middle is abhorrent.

Posted by: juggernautenterprises | February 11, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse


PASS THE DAMN BILL, NOW!!!

Posted by: demtse | February 11, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse


PASS THE DAMN BILL, NOW!!!

Posted by: demtse | February 11, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The American Prospect has an interesting article on another way to get rid of or change the filibuster, but it can only be done at the start of a new Congress before other motions are made. The upside is that it would take only 50 Senators + the VP or 51 Senators to make new rules, very much like the House does every Congress (i.e., every 2 years).

Posted by: irv12 | February 11, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see any of our Senate retards filibuster. Make em blab all hours of the day and night, no rest. Show em on CSPAN 24x7! Make em do it every single time.

Posted by: michael4 | February 11, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Reid really sounds ignorant with such a short statement. The entire reason a SIMPLE MAJORITY is required to CHANGE PROCEDURES is to PREVENT the MINORITY from RULING VIA FILLIBUSTER.

Wow, amazing how our forefathers had the foresight to program in protection from exactly what the Republicans are doing now, but a moron like Reid thinks "Oh no no, that would be an abuse of power". No, it would be the suitable response to the abuse of power that the GOP is currently doing!

Posted by: pyradius | February 11, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

WORTH REPEATING:

jimk8mr, makes a good point. So far there have been NO filibusters taking place: only the threat of a filibuster is enough to send the Democrats running for the hills.
It is not like the Senate has been tied up for days and days and days with one political party or the other taking up all their precious time with FILIBUSTERS. When WAS the last time we actually had a REAL filibuster?
This reality (that there have actually been NO filibusters) makes me wonder whether the whole thing is just some kind of red herring put forward by all the Senate in an effort to get them off the hook for doing NOTHING, except what their corporate masters, of course, require them to do for their own re-elections.
If it should ever come to pass that those threatening to filibuster actually DID it, the nation would see what was really going on in the Senate, and there are VERY few Senators who would wish to see THAT happen.
We are being taken for a ride here, folks. They want to filibuster? LET THEM FILIBUSTER! And, I don't care which party does it.

Posted by: cms1 | February 11, 2010 7:43 PM

Posted by: michael4 | February 11, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

THIS is truly a stupid move.

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | February 11, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama would like to see checks and balances eliminated, so he could rule more like his buddy Hugo.

Posted by: pkhenry | February 11, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Senator Reid is smarter than I thought. He knows he and most democrats are already in deep trouble come November. To pull a stunt like Harkin proposes would raise the bar from trouble to catastrophic.

Obama probably had something to say about Reid's statement because it's such a no brainer for the dems future, even a cave man would see it.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | February 11, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

J. H Crst!!!!!!
Do you think that the amoral GOP would even blink if they could have given this much power to Bush's insanity????
GET REAL!
IT'S TIME FOR THE REPS (DEMS) to SUPPORT the MAJORITY OF THE USA VOTERS, SHOW SOME BACKBONE AND CLOBBER AWHOLES LIKE HANNITY, LIMBAUGH, PALIN, ROVE, LIEBERMAN, O'REILLY, JOHN YOO, RUMSFELD, BOEHNER, McCONNEL and the DEEP South Ignorant Bible thumpers.

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 11, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

the real reason for the filibuster rule??

it makes each senator a little napoleon.

and no one in dc---dem or rep

will surrender power

it is much easier to take crack from an addict lighting up

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 11, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

This is a smoke screen. The dems biggest problem is they don't have enough party support to pass the bill as written -- that's why they had to buy Ben (kickback) Nelson's vote on the first round. Harry's doing his own party a favor by not forcing the centrists to bail out on the next go round.

Posted by: ericnestor | February 11, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

If the mere "threat" of a filibuster is enough to make the spineless Dims back down, then that is a reflection on their cowardice and ineptititude, and not on the GOP.

Harry Reid can call for a cloture vote any time he want's to, only problem is Harry no longer has the votes.

Posted by: screwjob2 | February 11, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If the mere "threat" of a filibuster is enough to make the spineless Dims back down, then that is a reflection on their cowardice and ineptititude, and not on the GOP.

Harry Reid can call for a cloture vote any time he want's to, only problem is Harry no longer has the votes.

Posted by: screwjob2 | February 11, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

jimk8mr, makes a good point. So far there have been NO filibusters taking place: only the threat of a filibuster is enough to send the Democrats running for the hills.
It is not like the Senate has been tied up for days and days and days with one political party or the other taking up all their precious time with FILIBUSTERS. When WAS the last time we actually had a REAL filibuster?
This reality (that there have actually been NO filibusters) makes me wonder whether the whole thing is just some kind of red herring put forward by all the Senate in an effort to get them off the hook for doing NOTHING, except what their corporate masters, of course, require them to do for their own re-elections.
If it should ever come to pass that those threatening to filibuster actually DID it, the nation would see what was really going on in the Senate, and there are VERY few Senators who would wish to see THAT happen.
We are being taken for a ride here, folks. They want to filibuster? LET THEM FILIBUSTER! And, I don't care which party does it.

Posted by: cms1 | February 11, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Sen. Reid to step down. Actually, it's well past time we "clean house"-on both sides of the aisle, in the embarassing dysfunctional Senate.

Posted by: BBear1 | February 11, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

But the Republicans have unilaterally re-written the senate rules by not actually filibustering, merely threatening to filibuster. If Ried is not willing to change the rules at least he can enforce the rules and make the GOP take to the floor and actually filibuster everything.

Posted by: afgail | February 11, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Smart move by Reid as he knows the Democrats will be the minority party in a very soon!

Posted by: Realist20 | February 11, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Really Reid,so by not changing the rule of which goes totally against democracy all you have done is to allow blackmail of every bill. But hey as long as this rule is in place then no one would have to worry about voting for a bill and having a record of said vote. In other words all in the senate both parties are cowards and once again fail to do the peoples work.

Posted by: rl5614 | February 11, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

OK Harry, so what is stopping you from requiring filibusterers to actually stand up before the Senate and the American public and filibuster?

Posted by: jimk8mr | February 11, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay Senator Reid, if you don't want to try and modify the rules for filibuster (and not just because you think there are not enough votes ), what is your rationale for that and given the big increases in filibusters or threatened use of it, how do you propose to get Senate business done ?

By stripping bills of enough substance so that they can get passed but don't address critical issues ?

I would like to know what is Senator Reid's proposed solution. Make that ....proposed workable solution. I'm open to that. It may be that getting rid of the filibuster is a terrible idea. Show me.

I feel like we're adrift in a ship with the crew constantly arguing about Jamaica or Bahamas as the best destination. Yes, it is safe to go no where, for a while. But alas, the passengers are running short on food, water, and electricity, and they are getting surly. Speaking of electricity, from 2001 to 2009 the energy production of the US hardly increased, while that of China doubled so that today they are getting close to US production levels.
We need a boatload of new wetware walking the halls of Congress. Also, isn't it fairly obvious that if you segregate people by having them sit on opposite sides of an aisle you will increase partisanship. A Primate's Memoir.


Posted by: steveandjanereed1 | February 11, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

apdseal: did you read the story before your post? It's about the democratic leadership upholding the rules against a couple of mavericks, even though it would benefit them at the moment, and taking the same position that the republican leadership has on the same subject, namely that it's a dumb idea to try to change the rules with less than a 2/3 majority. but then again, your ilk can spin anything into a way to bash democrats.

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 11, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love it when the donkeys, oops, I mean the democrats, some of them, want to change the rules to suit their self-serving selves?

Harkin and others of his ilk do not belong there - hopefully they will be out the next time they are up for re-election.

Posted by: apdseal | February 11, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow and double wow! "MR." Reid, you have my profound thanks and appreciation. I must say that I am stunned and ashamed of my harsh thoughts of you in the past. Forgive me.

Posted by: prossers7 | February 11, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

If the Dems end up in the minority in the future, they should show themselves to be real patriots and vote to change the rules. How could the majority refuse? Won't the Repubs look bad if they are in the majority and still won't support it?!

In the meantime, the Dems in the Senate should vote for every legislative initiative they believe is needed to help with jobs, health insurance reform, the economy, banking reform, and the environment. If the Repubs filibuster, let 'em filibuster, but make them actually do it. Then people will see who trying to lead and who is standing in the way. Dems shouldn't be afraid to propose legislation just because they don't have 60 votes.

Posted by: fmjk | February 11, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"Reid...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."

Rules never stopped him before.

Posted by: logicprevails | February 11, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

There should be a movement to end the one Senator holds. Filibusters are bad enough, but it is completely undemocratic for one Senator to be able to obstruct the other 99.

Posted by: fmjk | February 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Call it Karma but remember the rule change to protect Teddy's seat...maybe just maybe old Harry is not as old and stupid as we the people think. Changing the rules to win will always come back and bite you in the a$$...But if the rules were to be changed I am sure the tar and feathers would be brought to DC courtesy of we the people...

Posted by: Immanurse | February 11, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Senator Reid will lose in November and even if he doesn't the votes won't be there for him to remain as the majority leader. This may be the circular firing squad, but we are in the middle of a depression and we have the leadership of a party with the largest majority in thirty years fiddling while our economy is burning. Most of this is the Republican Party's fault, but there is no sense that Reid is fighting back; this guy is way too passive.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | February 11, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

James Madison warned the minority party could extort indulgences if democracy required a supermajority, and Republicans have shown Madison is correct. They’d prefer disaster instead of compromise. The people who claim Republicans are saving our system from Democrats are showing contempt for democracy and act like spoiled children who cannot get their way. People should trust in democracy, and if they think Democrats do not represent the best interests of our country, put up candidates who do.

Posted by: Keith3 | February 11, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Simply make it that 2/3rds majority only applies to House Rules.

All other laws just need a simple majority.

Posted by: walker1 | February 11, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The senate is more dangerous to this country than any terrorist or their organizations. These senators are a bunch of stubborn fools who wrap themselves in rules and procedures and end up stopping critical legislation that ultimately would benefits millions but could end up destroying the very nature of our country and our way of life. Reid is a weak and ineffective majority leader but the republicans are the most dishonest.
The senate a 100 puffed up, self congratulating phonies.

Posted by: MikeQ2 | February 11, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The Senate should be abolished. It has no place in a diverse society that will include more people of color than whites during this century. Get rid of it, and let them wish they had adapted their rules to suit modern times. They know they can change their rules, the Republicans were going to do it for Judicial confirmation. Dems are just chicken.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | February 11, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

By requiring 60 votes for essentially everything, the Republicans already have used a "nuclear option," which calls for "nuclear option" retaliation.

Posted by: bethechangeyouwant | February 11, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Reid won't be around next January anyway, and I say that as a liberal.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | February 11, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This is a wise move by Senator Reid. Those Senate rules are an axe that swings both ways depending on the composition of the Senate. Sacrificing a short term benefit with a view to the long term is the sort of vision that I'm surprised he possesses.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to see The Great Mitch McConnell call his former Republican senatorial colleague Bill Frist "dumb". It was in fact Frist as Republican Senate Majority Leader in 2004 who denounced the filibuster calling it "nothing less than a formula for tyranny by the minority." Actually, I think the record for senatorial "dumb" may be held by McConnell himself for his 1998 remark that Russ Feingold would be "dead meat" by Christmas.

Posted by: twm1 | February 11, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

He'll be out of there in November either way, so he might have done SOMETHING for the Dems on his way out.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 11, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

In other words, Harry Reid surrenders without firing a shot. Reid, you're a spineless, gutless, coward. Worst Senate majority leader in the past 100 years.

Posted by: Bob22003 | February 11, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Sigh- once again, spineless Harry Reid shows us why he is utterly useless, and needs to be thrown out of office. This guy has been caving into the Republicans for years. He's just awful.

We want things to get done in Washington- that's why we elected Obama. But with a majority "leader" like Reid, it's nearly impossible.

Throw Reid out NOW!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 11, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The Senate should follow there rule of requiring that the debate continue with a Senator standing and talking for as long as his personal stamina can endure, then their is a vote.
Make them stand, without bathroom breaks, and talk, talk, talk until they yield. Stop this nonsense of saying "I filibuster" and stopping a bill in its tracks. That is un-American.

Posted by: GWMan_FL | February 11, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Jeanne Shaheen: The people of New Hampshire did not elect a one-party statist to the U.S. Senate. But if that is what they got... it will soon be remedied at the ballot box.

Posted by: screwjob11 | February 11, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
11 February 2010

That rule requiring 67 Senate votes to do away with filibustering is here to stay.

That Democratic Resolution proposing to do away with filibustering in the Senate is actually an exercise in futility. The Democrats now have only 59 votes in the senate--and there is no way they can get 8 Republicans to vote with them on this critical issue.

And so, given this reality, Democratic majority leader Harry Reid had to say that he was not in favor of the proposed Democratic Resolution. He knows that it was simply grandstanding, if not wishful thinking.

Even as these lines are written, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell must already have decided to filibuster the Obama health-care reform bill--for starters.

To rub salt on Democratic wounds, he might even get newly-mined Republican Senator Scott Brown to do the "hit" job on President Obama's signature initiave for America.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | February 11, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
11 February 2010

That rule requiring 67 Senate votes to do away with filibustering is here to stay.

That Democratic Resolution proposing to do away with filibustering in the Senate is actually an exercise in futility. The Democrats now have only 59 votes in the senate--and there is no way they can get 8 Republicans to vote with them on this critical issue.

And so, given this reality, Democratic majority leader Harry Reid had to say that he was not in favor of the proposed Democratic Resolution. He knows that it was simply grandstanding, if not wishful thinking.

Even as these lines are written, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell must already have decided to filibuster the Obama health-care reform bill--for starters.

To rub salt on Democratic wounds, he might even get newly-mined Republican Senator Scott Brown to do the "hit" job on President Obama's signature initiave for America.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | February 11, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Harry stands up to a couple lefties? Maybe he HAS grown a pair!

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | February 11, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans have one unique advantage. If government does poorly, Republicans benefit because they are that gets the votes of people who don't trust government.

The Republicans have little incentive to see government succeed. Neither party should have this incentive.

The inability of Dems to move legislation forward despite large majorities is incredibly problematic. For America, short term and long term.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | February 11, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse


Well, good.

Senator Reid is becoming a patriot and a statesman rather than an everyday politician.

I'm pleased.

Posted by: Soloflexerus | February 11, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Utter and complete stasis is what it means. One Senator can block the president's appointments. The Senate refuses to consent. Ever. Republicans want the mulatto in the Executive Mansion to meet his Waterloo. So, anything he advocates they vote NO on. Anything and everything. Business will resume when they get a war monger white guy back in the White House. Somebody who will play ball. Boehner and McConnell are always saying what the American people want or don't want. Well, this American person wants to toss all 535 members of Congress out on the street -- all their property and money confiscated. Let's get normal people elected to office.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Jeanne Shaheen is lucky she has 4 more years in her Senate term. After that she is history.

But Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter are going to be voted out of Congress when New Hampshire goes to the election booth again in November.

264 days until Election Day. See you at the polls, Dims.

Posted by: screwjob11 | February 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The same party complaining now will be using the much maligned filibuster in the same way as Republicans have (as well as Democrats)once they are back in the minority.

Posted by: moebius22 | February 11, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I give him credit for consistency. He respects the history and traditions of the Senate enough to refuse to change his mind even when it would make him one of the most powerful Senate majority leaders ever.
But we really do need to do something about what the US government has become. We have to be able to make decisions, and if this means the Democrats lose out when the Republicans are in power, so be it. Maybe the Republicans will make some good calls, who knows.

Posted by: jonawebb | February 11, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Harry the horse's asp Reid has no choice but to go along because the "rule that only a two-thirds majority could change the chamber's rules" was enacted by a Democrat Senate years ago to prevent future Republican Senates from repealing Senate rules they liked.

It is not that Harry is being a charitable soul here, it is that the rules have Harry Reid by the short hairs.

Posted by: screwjob11 | February 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

At least Harry Reid has this one correct. If that idiot Udall's recommendation were enacted, you'd see the political and legal version of a second Civil War in America. The minority party's rights, whichever party happens to be in the minority, need to be protected.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | February 11, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

.........

Unless Harry is unopposed in November,
he's not going back to D.C. as a Senator
in '11.

But I love the 'teapartypatriot' chat
name.

All the words look as if they were
spelled correctly, also.

Well done tea party guy/gal!

.......

Posted by: printthis | February 11, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Harry. Get rid of the filibuster. I do not want the incoming Republican majority to be inconvenienced by it next January.

Posted by: JERRYB1 | February 11, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

If dirty harry tries to undermine the Senate rules of filibuster he'll be recalled by the voters in Nevada and thrown out of office immediately - instead of being throw out in November.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | February 11, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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