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Amidst all the self congratulation on the Senate floor last night after the body adopted new procedural rules to make the filibuster slightly less convenient, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell promised one another it would all be better now. Fundamentally, most reports suggest that Reid got precisely what he wanted, not a Senate that would actually be able to pass critical legislation, but a Senate that would move through the process of legislating a little more quickly.
According to conversations with pro-reform Democratic aides, party leadership sources and outside opponents of the filibuster, Reid’s main goal was ultimately not to weaken the 60-vote threshold that reformers desperately wanted to change. Instead his objective was to eliminate mandatory gaps between votes in order to move legislation and nominees that have cleared a filibuster more quickly — which he achieved. [...]
A Democratic leadership aide told TPM that “whether you wanted more or not, Reid got virtually everything he has said he wanted.” The aide pointed to examples of the majority leader saying his goal was to make the Senate operate more efficiently.
Reformers in and out of the Senate believe that Reid tapped into their enthusiasm to advance his goal. “Reid said he wants to make it easier to move on bills,” said a pro-reform aide. “This doesn’t do that. He still has to negotiate with McConnell to get on a bill. It’s a negligible difference to how the Senate operates today.”
Negotiating with McConnell is still necessary, and likely to be as constrained as ever since Reid made a promise to McConnell on the Senate floor after the voting Thursday. He will not, he vowed to McConnell, attempt "any further changes to the filibuster or other rules in the 113th Congress without Republican consent."
Don't expect this new spirit of comity and bipartisanship [cough] to last very long. The renomination of Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is at hand. Because of Republican opposition to the simple existence of the CFPB, President Obama was forced to make a recess appointment of Cordray. Republican opposition hasn't abated, and they're vowing to continue the fight.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:48 AM PST.