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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks during a joint news conference with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)(L) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) (R) on the Republican Filibuster of Reid's debt plan on Capitol Hill in Washington July 29, 2011
Harry Reid with Senate leadership, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin
As promised, on Thursday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recessed the Senate on this first day of business, rather than adjourning, so that technically the Senate will still be on the first day of business when they resume work later in the month. That means he will still be able to bring up Senate rules reform—the filibuster—when they return, because it to be completed on the first day of Senate business.

In his floor statement, Reid said:

“The Senate is simply not working as it should. That is why, in the last Congress, I made plain that Democrats would do something to fix these issues. The beginning of a new Congress is customarily a time that the Senate addresses changes to its rules. In the last Congress, Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Tom Harkin and Sheldon Whitehouse made the majority's case for change. I commend these passionate leaders. They have made compelling arguments for reform. [...]

But I believe this matter warrants additional debate during the 113th Congress. And Senators deserve additional notice before voting to change Senate rules. So today I will follow the precedents set in 2005 and again in 2011. We will reserve the right of all Senators to propose changes to the Senate rules. And we will explicitly not acquiesce in the carrying over of all the rules from the last Congress.It is my intention that the Senate will recess today, rather than adjourn, to continue the same legislative day, and allow this important rules discussion to continue later this month. I am confident the Republican leader and I can come to an agreement that allows the Senate to work more efficiently.”

Few others are confident that Reid will work with the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, to come to an agreement that will prevent the Republicans from obstructing just for the sake of obstruction. Importantly, however, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told Huffington Post that "Senator Reid will preserve the option to make rule changes with a simple majority vote," while continuing these negotiations.

But what this break also does is give Reid time to shore up his own caucus and convince balky members (David Pryor, Dianne Feinstein, Ben Cardin, Carl Levin, Max Baucus, Chuck Schumer, Jack Reed and Patrick Leahy) that substantial reform is necessary. Those members have all been working on the inadequate bipartisan proposal that preserves far too much opportunity for Republicans to gum up the works.

What this two week break also does is give us time to convince our Democratic senators, including Harry Reid, that what the Senate needs—what the country needs—is real reform and that the Levin-McCain proposal that even gives the minority more opportunities to obstruct won't work.

Tell Sen. Reid that real filibuster reform has to happen. Call him at 202-224-3542.

You can also email your Democratic senators and tell them to support the real filibuster reform that Sens. Udall and Merkley have proposed.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:53 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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