Harry Reid must be pretty confident about 2014, because on Tuesday, which is primary day for Mitch McConnell, he threatened to change the Senate rules again to kill GOP filibusters.
Manu Raju of Politico reported:
Another Reid threat to change rules. "I don't plan on changing the rules today again, but how much longer can we put up with this?"
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 20, 2014
This is a change in tone from just a few days ago when Reid seemed reluctant to make another rules change, “We’re taking a look at this, but we are doing well with the judges. It’s a shame that they’re being obstinate about all these other nominations, but we’re going to take a look at it.”
What changed is the fact that Senate Republicans filibustered two bills in the past week that had broad bipartisan support. It isn’t a coincidence that Sen. Reid made these comments on Mitch McConnell’s primary day. Led by McConnell, Republicans blocked an energy efficiency bill, and a tax cut bill.
There is a widespread feeling that McConnell is a significant part of the problem. If voters get rid of McConnell, things will get better in the Senate, but to really improve things, many Senate Democrats want to see a return to the talking filibuster.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has been trying to get his plan that would force filibustering senators to talk during the entire length of the filibuster since 2007. The nuclear option fixed the problem of Republicans filibustering appointments. but the biggest issue has always been the ease with which any senator can block legislation.
Reid’s comments today suggest that he is finally open to moving towards changing the rules to kill the GOP’s favorite obstruction tactic. If the Senate is ever going to function properly again, Harry Reid needs to lead the charge to change the rules to force Republican obstructionists to stand up and verbally own their filibusters.