Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bold Talk from Harry Reid on Senate Rules Reform

Reid surprised me with talk like this a month or so ago, but he keeps repeating himself, and in this case that can only mean good things:
Reid made the remarks on Friday to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, a day after Democrats were unable to overcome the GOP threat of a filibuster on a small-business tax-cut bill, which failed on a 53-44 vote:
REID: They’re just trying to kill this bill, as they’ve  killed scores of other bills we’ve had because they’re filibustering. They’re filibustering until we have to change the rules. We can’t go on like this anymore. I don’t want to get rid of the filibuster, but I have to tell you, I want to change the rules and make the filibuster meaningful. The filibuster is not part of our constitution, it came about as a result of our wanting to get legislation passed, and now it’s being used to stop legislation from passing.
SCHULTZ: But you’d change the rules…
REID: Oh, we could have done it in the last Congress. But I got on the Senate floor and said that I made a mistake and  I should have helped with that. It can be done if Obama is re-elected, and I can still do it if I have a majority, we can do it with a simple majority at the beginning of the next Congress.
SCHULTZ: Think the President will go along with that?
REID: You damn betcha.
A bit later in the interview, Reid reiterated his promise:
SCHULTZ: Would you make that as a commitment if Barack Obama were reelected and the Democrats keep the Senate?
REID: Yes. I don’t know how many people watch C-Span on any given day, but I’ve said so right before everybody there, that’s what I would do.
Reid’s remarks have heartened filibuster-reform advocates who supported the 2010 Merkley-Udall-Harkin bill, sponsored mostly by Senate Democratic freshmen. Fix the Senate Now — a progressive coalition including the Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club, and Common Cause — is reconvening this week in an attempt to revive the issue.
I asked someone who would know these types of thing and had spoken with one of the freshman senators if Reid's stance was bullshit or not. The person replied that anything could happen, but the senators truly believe Reid is behind their efforts this time around. This is extremely encouraging. The filibuster is at the heart of many factors that have destroyed our democracy, and eliminating it is a giant step in the right direction.

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