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First Day After The Election, Reid Says He Wants To Weaken Filibuster‏ | Missouri Political News Service

First Day After The Election, Reid Says He Wants To Weaken Filibuster‏

November 10th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

The Washington Times writes, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will try to push through a change to Senate rules that would limit the GOP’s ability to filibuster bills. . . . ‘I think that the rules have been abused and that we’re going to work to change them,’ he told reporters. . . . Republicans, who have 47 of the chamber’s 100 seats in the current Congress, have repeatedly used that strong minority to block parts of President Obama’s agenda on everything from added stimulus spending to his judicial picks. A filibuster takes 60 senators to overcome it. Leaders of both parties have been reluctant to change the rules because they value it as a tool when they are in the minority. But Mr. Reid said things changed over the last few years when he repeatedly faced off against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell . . . .”

Back in July, the last time Reid floated this idea, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell shot back, “The core problem here is … the Majority Leader as a practical matter is running the whole Senate because everything is centralized in his office, which diminishes the opportunity for senators of both parties to represent their constituents. Look, we all were sent here by different Americans who expected us to have a voice, to have an opportunity, to effect legislation. I would say … we don’t have a rules problem, we have an attitude problem. When is the Senate going to get back to normal? I can recall my friends on the other side saying repeatedly the difference between the House and Senate is you get to vote.”

Indeed, The Times goes on to point out, “Senate Republicans, though, said the real problem is that Mr. Reid too often tries to limit the amendments they can offer to bills on the Senate floor. Left without the chance to debate their own priorities, the GOP sees little option but to filibuster. After Mr. Reid’s comments Wednesday, Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, said Democrats would set a bad tone for next year. ‘We hope Democrats will work toward allowing members of both sides to be involved in the legislative process — rather than poisoning the well on the very first day of the next Congress,’ Mr. Stewart said. ‘And that Sen. Reid will honor his public commitment to do rules changes only through the regular order.’”

Townhall.com’s Guy Benson adds some key context: “Reid’s rationale is faulty and hypocritical.  . . .  The historic uptick in attempted and threatened Republican ‘filibusters’ (or some variant thereof) has correlated directly with Reid’s strong-arm tactics as majority leader.  To an unprecedented degree, Reid has denied the minority the right to even offer amendments to legislation, meaning that Republicans would have no input in the structure or content of these laws.  Reid has employed this maneuver, known as ‘filling the amendment tree,’ more than his six immediate predecessors combined. . . . When some Republicans proposed the ‘nuclear option’ to limit filibusters of judicial appointees by changing the rules during the Bush years, Democrats melted down.  This idea amounted to a mortal threat to the republic, they argued . . . . California’s Diane Feinstein gravely warned that the Republican plan would put the Senate on a slippery slope — ultimately leading to tampering with the sacred legislative filibuster…which is precisely what Reid is moving to do now.”



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