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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a technicality of the Senate rules to end the "first day" without adjourning, in order to preserve the option to change the filibuster rule with only 51 votes. In Filibuster Reform Is Top Item On 2013 Senate Agenda, Pledges Harry Reid, we learn:

Filibuster reform will be the top item on the U.S. Senate's agenda after dealing with delayed aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged Tuesday.

Normally, rule changes are made on the first day of a new session, but Reid has kept that "first day" alive through the technicality of not adjourning the Senate. This means he can still invoke what supporters call the "constitutional option" -- and opponents have dubbed the "nuclear option" -- and change Senate rules with a simple majority vote, instead of the two-thirds majority usually required to make such changes.

"Because this matter warrants additional debate, today we'll follow the precedent set in 2005 and again in 2011 to reserve the right of all senators to propose changes in the Senate rules. We will explicitly not acquiesce in the carrying over of all the rules from the last Congress," Reid said, implicitly raising the argument that the Senate is not a "continuing" body that operates under the same rules every session unless the members say otherwise.

While Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has proposed a "talking filibuster" bill that Democrats can pass with only 51 votes on the first day, Republicans have proposed a potentially bipartisan bill of watered down changes. Senator Reid is seeking GOP goodwill by trying to negotiate a bipartisan compromise with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).  

12:35 PM PT: In an update to this article Senator Reid has clarified a more aggressive time frame for the rules delay, apparently to put pressure on the GOP to compromise.



 The Senate will reform the filibuster within the next day and a half -- whether Republicans go along or not, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday afternoon.

"I hope that within the next 24 to 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we're going to move forward on what I think needs to be done," Reid told reporters. "The caucus will support me on that," he added.



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Comment Preferences

  •  Dammit, Harry (16+ / 0-)

    We need the talking filibuster.  Round up the votes and pass Udall's proposal.  None of this maybe-schmaybe stuff.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:38:24 PM PST

    •  Yes, after our experience in the last decade, the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Ky DEM, glitterscale, MPociask

      idea that we are going to cultivate and benefit from goodwill from Republicans by voluntarily giving up strategic advantages seems dubious.

      The GOP would not hesitate to use every advantage they can get.

      However, deeper in the article some Senators worry that if we eliminate the Senate filibuster with the 51 vote option, it may set a precedent that future GOP dominated Senates might use against us.  

      It is difficult to know if this is a fantasy or great wisdom. (A fantasy to think that future GOP Senators would still use similar restraint.)

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:42:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Straw man argument (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PorridgeGun, greeseyparrot, MPociask

        Fear of changing the rules because of what Republicans might do someday? Seriously?

        This coming from the party that kept it's "powder dry" and almost never used the filibuster when Republicans held the majority.

        Insanity. Democrats who vote against filibuster reform are endorsing gridlock. It's as if they'd rather not take a position on the hard stuff.

        Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

        by bear83 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:14:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Even if we DON'T have the votes... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, bear83, jamess, MPociask

      ...for filibuster reform, we still need to have it brought up for a vote.

      We must get all Pro-Filibuster Senators (like Chuck Schumer, D-NY) on record as being pro-gridlock.

      In short: "Demand an up-or-down vote on up-or-down votes".

  •  Give it up already Harry (12+ / 0-)

    the GOP will not agree to anything worth agreeing to.

    Just pursue the constitutional option, and pass meaningful filibuster reform with the ~51 Democrats who actually want to serve the people who elected them.

    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:39:22 PM PST

  •  Why In The Fuck (8+ / 0-)

    Are we negotiating with McConnell? THEY LOST HARRY! Hand them an anvil. Do you think these assholes would negotiate with you?

    Abolish The Filibuster Now!

    by Ky DEM on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:43:33 PM PST

    •  Harry Reid does not appear to be serious about (4+ / 0-)

      reforming the Senate filibuster rules.

      Here's an excerpt and the link to the denverpost.com piece, "Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell:  Public Enemies, Private Friends."

      WASHINGTON — They are public enemies and private friends, men who refuse to campaign against one another and are masters of the back-room deal. . . .

      McConnell, in an interview, said: "It's important for us to have a good relationship, and we do. I consider Harry a friend, and I think we trust each other, and I think that's important for the institution."

      Reid, who wasn't available for comment for this article, told NPR this month that "I feel comfortable with my relationship with McConnell and the Republican caucus." He also said he was confident "that we can get some good things done." . . .

      More immediately, a group of Democratic senators led by Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado is pushing for changes to the rules for the filibuster, arguing that its routine use has rendered the chamber dysfunctional.
      Republicans oppose weakening the tactic, the minority's most powerful tool. While Reid has expressed support for altering some Senate procedures, he has said he wouldn't back changing the core of the filibuster — the requirement that 60 votes are needed to overcome it.
      This piece was written about last year's battle over the filibuster rules.  The current filibuster discussion appears to be a replay.

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:40:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just fucking execute already (5+ / 0-)

    Stop waiting for these asshats! Don't worry about your caucus. The Senate rules are so fucking arcane that no political ad could capture it meaningfully in 30 seconds. Stop negotiating with insanity!

  •  do we know what Reid thinks should be done? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, skohayes, bear83

    and will it be Sen. Merkley's  "talking filibuster" bill?

    "I hope that within the next 24 to 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we're going to move forward on what I think needs to be done," Reid told reporters. "The caucus will support me on that," he added.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:45:33 PM PST

  •  Hey Harry, quite pissing on our leg (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ky DEM, bear83, PorridgeGun

    and telling us it's raining. They're never going to agree to any reform that it worthwhile. Talk is cheap, let's see some meaningful action.

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:45:35 PM PST

  •  Careful Harry, don't be a Max Baucus (5+ / 0-)

    Don't give them time to gin up a ruckus. It's not like they and the people didn't know this was coming. Don't let them delay it any longer than you have already. If you give them enough time, they will moan and groan all over the airwaves and try to do to this what they did to health care reform. Give them a day and then get it done.

    •  I think in the last hour people with this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun, glitterscale

      sentiment got through to him, because in the original report he was implying weeks of delay, or longer, as he was going to deal with several other bills first.

      Someone must have pointed out that this will become a rally banner for right-wing blogs and radio, perhaps, spooking those Dems in vulnerable states.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:54:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  because... (9+ / 0-)

    ...as we all know, pursuit of compromise with senate republicans has proven to be so very, very fruitful.

    "i hear you're mad about brubeck ... i like your eyes. i like him too." -donald fagen

    by homo neurotic on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:50:38 PM PST

    •  It does seem puzzling, does it not. (6+ / 0-)

      Senator Reid has been a mystery to me, as he seems to oscillate between appearing to be a really hard-ass politico to being a marsh mellow.

      During the general election he'd come out regularly to shred Mitt Romney on tax returns without blinking, then at other times appears to want to do nothing without the blessings of the McConnell.

      What gives?  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 12:57:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Senate is an old boy's club (5+ / 0-)

        Reid is from a time before the current political situation, where Senators would call each other every name in the book on the Senate floor in debate and then go have drinks or play golf together. Today, Congress is getting filled with individuals who hate the other side with a degree of loathing that can only be described as pathological.

      •  i'm equally flummoxed. don't get it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        i just don't. it's still bring down the hammer time. especially in light of the absence of any contrition / conciliatory tone from the other side of the aisle.

        why he'd expect anything else apart from the same old obstructionist shit from them is a mystery.

        "i hear you're mad about brubeck ... i like your eyes. i like him too." -donald fagen

        by homo neurotic on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:01:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not holding out much hope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    Dems are rightly a little squeamish about taking away some of the minority's power because the day will come when Dems are in the minority again. They don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, for good reason.

  •  Harry(weak) Reid is possibly the worst (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    'negotiator' in the world, Mitch the turtle is simply evil, he would destroy the country just to discredit 'that (n word)' in the White house, screw him and the bigotry he rides on.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:04:36 PM PST

    •  I posted a piece from Bloomberg News, "Harry Reid (0+ / 0-)

      and Mitch McConnell: Public Enemies, Private Friends," which sort of spells it out.

      It says explicitly:

      Republicans oppose weakening the tactic, the minority’s most powerful tool. While Reid has expressed support for altering some Senate procedures, he has said he wouldn’t back changing the core of the filibuster -- the requirement that 60 votes are needed to overcome it.
      Here's the link to the entire piece.

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 07:12:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If he caves on this, don't call me for donations (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, bear83, PorridgeGun, allenjo

    After all the hard work and thousands of dollars of donations I've given in just the past 5 years, it's time for these guys to show some backbone and reciprocate. Another 4 more years of this R obstructionism (AT LEAST!) is utterly unacceptable.

    "Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a life. Don’t feed fish." - Future President Paul Ryan

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:06:22 PM PST

    •  filibusters in President Obama’s first term: 241 (0+ / 0-)

      from huffpo...

      Number of filibusters between 1951 – 1960: 4
      Number of filibusters in LBJ’s term: 1
      Number of filibusters in President Obama’s first term: 241

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 04:45:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  that sounds somewhat more hopeful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog


    than earlier today.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:13:07 PM PST

  •  A negotiated deal is much better... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, a2nite

    but the GOP knows Harry wants it, so will not move off their current McCain/Levin offer.  I also suspect they don't believe they really have the votes when it comes down to it.  Reid seems to be bluffing.  Don't make me do it, I swear I'm gonna do it, okay I won't do it now, but I will tomorrow for sure this time...

    Merkley/Udall will start off WW3 in the Senate, and the GOP will use the unilateral rule changes as reason for them to obstruct everything.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:20:08 PM PST

    •  And how would that be any different than what they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, bear83

      have done for the past 4 years?  I suggest that it will become clear to the American public how obstructionist and unwilling to work for the betterment of the nation the GOP is when they have to own any filibuster actions.  Furthermore, the House won't have the cover of knowing that the GOP will block everything in the Senate so to get anything through, the GOP controlled House will have to craft measures that can pass the Senate.  Getting rid of the silent and anonymous filibuster will be a double win for the American public.

      Good Sense is Seldom Common

      •  Because they'll make the unilaterial rule change (0+ / 0-)

        out to be a huge unprecedented power grab and how now obstructing by any means necessary is a noble cause.  

        Fox will be screaming to high heaven, and the MSM who always wants drama will run with it as well.  

        "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

        by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:07:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But Reid says he has 51 votes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ten canvassers
      He specified that he has the 51 votes he needs to proceed on a Democratic plan, indicating he's willing to pursue the "constitutional option" of changing the rules without the usual two-thirds vote. Previously, a number of senior Democrats had professed reluctance to change the rules with a simple majority, saying they feared it would set a dangerous precedent.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:53:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He can say that, but does he really? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        I guess he could claim one of his 51 got cold feet tomorrow.  

        I don't get his negotiating stance here - "we have 51 but I'm willing to cut a deal with you" seems to make it rather obvious that he wants a negotiated deal and might take less there.  He should be claiming "we have 49 but a couple "no's" are still on the fence and would like a negotiated deal, but if the GOP isn't willing to really address the blanket obstruction in a negotiated manner than they'll be open to put us over the threshold".  

        Harry has made it obvious that he's negotiating against himself here.  

        "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

        by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:05:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hopefully this is just for show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    to give the GOP enough rope to hang them with. If they won't come to a compromise that actually reduces obstructionism the Democrats can appear justified in making the change(s) unilaterally. Reid's rhetoric, at least, suggests that legitimately reducing obstruction is his goal.

  •  I am hoping Harry has something (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    up his sleeve on this.
    Maybe hes got some strategy to get this through at the last possible moment.
    At least that's what I am hoping.
    thanx for the update!!

  •  Smart Move, Actually..... (0+ / 0-)

    There has to be a show of letting the dullard, conniving Republicans come to the table.  If not the talking filibuster, we'll take a straight up & down vote so bills can move to committee for discussion.  No more secret holds.  Talking to you, Tom Coburn.  

    They have a deadline.  Belly up or prepare to stand in front of the American people for hours to explain why old, poor people need to lose their SS, their Medicare & their Medicaid.  And why little babies can make it without their subsidized formula.

    Have you seen how much formula costs these days?  It's $16 bucks/can.  

    Start talking, Republicans.  

  •  When will Harry learn... (0+ / 0-)

    ...these pricks DO NOT CARE! They are there only to serve their petty little, wingnut agendas at the expense of the country's well-being. These fuckers don't compromise Harry, forget them.

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 03:31:09 PM PST

  •  stand & defend their reasons for blocking below: (0+ / 0-)

    from the huffpo....

    Make sure, Senator Reid, that Senators stand up in front of the American people and defend their reasons for blocking bills like the following:
    H.R. 12 - Paycheck Fairness Act
    H.R. 448 -- Elder Abuse Victims Act
    H.R. 466 - Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
    H.R. 515 - Radioactive Import Deterrence Act
    H.R. 549 -- National Bombing Prevention Act
    H.R. 577 - Vision Care for Kids Act
    H.R. 626 - Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act
    H.R. 1029 - Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act
    H.R. 1168 -- Veterans Retraining Act
    H.R. 1171 - Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization
    H.R. 1293 -- Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
    H.R. 1429 -- Stop AIDS in Prison Act
    H.R.5281 -- DREAM Act
    S.3985 -- Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
    S.3816 -- Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act
    S.3369 -- A bill to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities
    S.2237 -- Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act
    S.2343 -- Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act
    S.1660 -- American Jobs Act of 2011
    S.3457 -- Veterans Jobs Corps Act
    Even The James Zadroga 9-11 Health Care and Compensation Act, which was health care for heroes of 9-11
    Those are all bills the McConnell-led-GOPTeas-filibustered in the dismal 112th congress.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 04:43:24 PM PST

  •  Harry Reid seems to be the George McClellan of the (0+ / 0-)

    senate.

    ==============
    EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
     October 13, 1862.

    MY DEAR SIR--You remember my speaking to you of what I called your over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not claim to be at least his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim?
     
    ==============

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 07:23:41 PM PST

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