Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants Republicans to stop the foot dragging and obstruction. If they refuse to behave responsibly, Reid warned that he is open to eliminating all filibusters.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this: I mean listening to you this morning if the Republicans continue to throw up the kind of opposition you’ve been receiving, you say you’ve been receiving, do you have plans to extend this ban on filibusters? Right now you’ve– you’ve worked out this rule which they vehemently oppose that– so they– it’s very difficult for him to filibuster nominations. Would you be willing to just go to a Senate where just majority rules and that’s it?
SENATOR HARRY REID: Well, Bob, I think it’s something that we have to understand.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So you’re thinking about that?
SENATOR HARRY REID: But that– that’s– that’s– that’s this. We cannot have a country that’s paralyzed because of a group of people, the group of people who are like Tea Party-driven Republicans in Congress, not Republicans. I’m not here to bad mouth the Republicans around the country. I get a lot of support from Republicans in Nevada, and always have had. But they are mainstream Republicans. They’re not driven by this craziness that we have in American today. So the answer is this: We– we– we should pass raising the minimum wage. We should extend unemployment benefits. We should get rid of these tax loopholes and create jobs so the middle class can– can start growing, not shrinking.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But would you do away with filibusters entirely?
SENATOR HARRY REID: Well, I’m– we’re– we’re not there yet. I think that we– we–
BOB SCHIEFFER: I mean are you even thinking about that?
SENATOR HARRY REID: No, I’m not thinking about it today. But I– I think–
BOB SCHIEFFER: You’re saying you’re holding that out. Is– that is a possibility?
SENATOR HARRY REID: I– I– 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.
Majority Leader Reid has been fighting the battle to get the Senate moving again in an incremental fashion. He gave Republicans numerous opportunities to cooperate before he unleashed the nuclear option. Reid’s answer to the question of whether or not he was considering eliminating all filibusters was telling. The Nevada Democrat didn’t say no. He said that he is not considering it today.
This answer left the door open for Sen. Reid to consider it later if Republicans continue to obstruct and grind the Senate to a halt. For those who were wondering how Reid would respond to Mitch McConnell’s plan to get revenge for the nuclear option by slowing the Senate to a crawl, you now have your answer.
McConnell’s moronic revenge plan could end up costing Republicans the ability to filibuster legislation. Harry Reid delivered his first warning to Senate Republicans. His message was that they need to quit obstructing and playing games, or Democrats would take away their obstructionist toys. In the same interview, Reid also pointed out that the filibuster is not in the Constitution. He added that the filibuster is privilege, not a right.
Harry Reid may not be thinking about eliminating all filibusters today, but if Mitch McConnell continues his senseless campaign of obstruction, the Senate Majority Leader will make the GOP pay.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association