Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid never fails to disappoint me. He cares more about the antiquated and arcane rules of the Senate than he does about the prime directive: "do the right thing." POLITICO reports Harry Reid seeks middle path on filibuster:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) doesn’t plan to advance a “talking filibuster” proposal envisioned by liberals who want sweeping changes to the stodgy Senate.
But he still may invoke what critics call the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules that would limit the use of the filibuster, force senators to hold the floor in certain situations and require those stalling legislation to deliver 41 votes, several people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The contents of a filibuster reform package are not yet finalized, sources say, and Reid is still trying to cut a bipartisan deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to avert a partisan showdown on the floor [Tuesday].
Reid seems to have discarded one of the more far-reaching proposals sought by liberals — forcing senators to actually carry out a filibuster — because of fears that the plan would effectively kill the potent delaying tactic used frequently by the minority party.
Still, there’s a serious chance that Reid and McConnell will fail to cut a bipartisan deal. And that could prompt the Democratic leader to spearhead his own package and seek to change the rules by 51 votes — rather than a two-thirds majority that is typically required. That move would have major ramifications for the future of how the institution operates and prompt a procedural war with the GOP.
Critics call that process the “nuclear option,” saying future majorities would then be able to cite the precedent and decide to change whatever rules they want with just 51 votes, effectively turning the body into the House and running roughshod over the minority party. Supporters argue the tactic is well within bounds of the Constitution that allows the Senate to set its own rules, arguing it would allow a simple majority to make the body more workable.
Reid is considering several significant changes to Senate procedures, several of which Republicans strongly oppose. But the plan Reid is weighing would not go as far as outspoken Senate liberals are advocating, including Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who is privately urging progressive activists to pressure Reid into pushing for a more aggressive package.
Gaius Publius at Americablog.com has a call to action for filibuster reform. Will Harry Reid kill real filibuster reform? Vote is tomorrow, January 22:
Action Opportunity — Call today and tomorrow
This is a tight, focused action opportunity. The Senate vote is tomorrow (January 22).
Despite the fact that today is MLK Day, we should be calling Harry Reid’s office today and tomorrow (early morning EST):
Reid also has four Nevada offices, all with phones. If you call:
- Tell him (politely) to act like a Democrat instead of a Beltway insider & Mitch McConnell’s virtual golfing buddy.
- Tell him to support the Merkley–Udall proposal and nothing less.
- Say if he doesn’t get real filibuster reform passed in the Senate, he owns the silent filibuster for the next two years. Every Republican obstruction will be his obstruction as well.
Let’s give him naming rights if he fails us like he did two years ago. The Senator Harry Reid Silent Filibuster™, brought to you by Senator Harry Reid, the Republicans’ new best friend in the Senate.
Other Dem senators who may be wavering:
Make the call, please. Today and tomorrow early (EST). Make several. I’d be shocked if the folks in the $800 suits hit the chambers anytime before 10 or 11am — gotta have time for those lobbyist breakfasts and all.