Pressure from liberal groups has combined with frustration with endless Senate Republican obstruction to result in Majority Leader Harry Reid seriously looking at going nuclear and ending the 60 vote rule on all Republican filibusters.
The Hill reported:
Reid is reluctant to provoke another confrontation with Republican colleagues over the rules but he’s frustrated with the continued obstruction and needs the help of outside groups to turn out voters in the midterm elections.
“Reid is not afraid to go further and considers reform this year a real possibility,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide.
The Democratic leader has already slammed the door on President Obama’s request to move trade promotion authority legislation, which labor unions detest.
Going nuclear on all filibusters is something that Sen. Reid has been increasingly considering over the last few months. Last month, Reid issued his first warning to Republicans that he would consider ending the 60 vote rule if Republicans didn’t stop filibustering. Reid said, “No, I’m not thinking about it today. But I- I think-I think everyone should understand that the country cannot continue on the road that it’s on. It cannot have- you cannot have when you have vacancies in the judiciary as we’ve had, DC Circuit, some say it’s more important than the Supreme Court. But it’s, at least, the second most important. They said we’re not going to fill these spots because we don’t want to. You can’t. That’s not the way we legislate.”
The good news is that Sen. Reid is listening, and the pressure is working. The fact that the Majority Leader is so frustrated with Republican obstruction means that he is more receptive to what the outside groups are telling him. The message coming, not just from activists, but also from the majority of the country is that this obstruction can’t continue. Getting rid of the Republican legislative filibuster is only half of the solution. Democrats must also take back the House, or at minimum, continue to defeat tea party Republicans. Each tea party Republican defeated is one less extremist in Boehner’s caucus.
The latest Republican obstruction of the unemployment benefits extension has pushed Reid towards doing something that he doesn’t really want to do. Ideally, Republicans would do their jobs. Sen. Reid and the Democrats shouldn’t have to do this. There will be much angst and whining about the loss of the voice of the minority if this step is taken, but Republicans brought this on themselves by abusing the filibuster.
Majority Reid has no choice. He must go nuclear, and end all Republican filibusters.