Congressional Game of Chicken: Filbuster Reform is Giving Harry a Headache

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Don’t Stop Now! Call Reid’s office at 202-224-3542, and tell him to include the talking filibuster and/or flipping the burden of the filibuster.

Reform the Filbuster

Sign the Petition

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a headache, Filibuster Reform.

Filibuster reform has become a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Reid is stuck in the middle, between liberal senators pushing hard for drastic reform and senior Democrats balking at changing the culture of the upper chamber. [..]

Reid has begun to show signs of impatience with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), with whom he has been negotiating for weeks. He said Tuesday that he and McConnell have made progress, but added, “[W]e’ve got a long way to go.”

The Nevada Democrat said he would give Republicans another 24 to 36 hours to agree to filibuster reform and then trigger the so-called nuclear option. This controversial tactic would allow him to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote.

Sen.  Reid insists that reform is at the top of his agenda, even though it has been delayed almost three weeks to give time for negotiations with the recalcitrant Republican minority who have used the current rule to virtually halt government. While progressive Democrats back the reforms put forth by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM), including “talking filibuster,” Sen. Reid has put forth his own proposal as a compromise in an attempt to placate six more senior Democrats who are reluctant to pass reform with a simple majority vote:

The proposals include eliminating filibusters on motions to proceed, and an idea proposed by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) that would shift the burden onto the minority by requiring 41 members to vote in order to maintain a filibuster, rather than requiring the majority to find 60 votes to end a filibuster. [..]

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), a co-sponsor of the scaled-back, bipartisan filibuster reform package, also said he supports putting some onus on the minority to keep a filibuster going. [..] Levin said he continues to have problems with a nuclear option. [..] Levin said he supports getting rid of the filibuster on the motion to proceed, but again held out hope for an agreement. [..]

One of the proponents of stronger filibuster reform, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), took to the floor a little later to demand that the Senate not take half measures. [..] Udall suggested the constitutional option need not actually be invoked. [..] But he added that if Republicans don’t agree, Democrats have a responsibility to act.

If there is any hope of the Senate passing comprehensive immigration reform and gun violence prevention, along with education, infrastructure, the Violence Against Women Act, veterans aid, climate change, tax loopholes, voter suppression and the farm bill, ending filibuster gridlock is a must.

The question of whether Democrats can get this done was the topic of discussion this past weekend on Up with Chris Hayes. Host Chris Hayes was joined by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the Democratic National Committee; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress; and Jen Psaki, former Obama White House deputy communications director.


    • TMC on January 23, 2013 at 17:11
  1. are the primary problem in addressing our many problems?

    How much faith should we have Barack Obama is going to stamp out Global Warming (or Climate Change, if you prefer the weasel wording), when he brags America is projected to surpass Saudi Arabia in supplying the world with fossil fuels?

    Best,  Terry

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