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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gestures while addressing the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008. Democrats nominated Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) on Wednesday as their presidential candidate in a histori
Fight this time, Harry. Fight.
It's July, the immigration bill made it through the Senate, and that means it's time for Majority Leader Harry Reid and his caucus to determine how they go forward with all the nominations the Republicans have been obstructing.
How this all plays out will be determined behind closed doors at Senate Democratic Caucus lunch meetings, the first of which is on Tuesday. After huddling with his membership, Reid will determine which nominee comes to the floor first to face a likely GOP filibuster.

Reid has refused to answer questions on the topic even as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues his campaign on the Senate floor to see if Reid will “keep his word” on not changing Senate rules in January—which Democrats are only too happy to turn on McConnell for promising “to work with the majority to process nominations.”

It’s still unclear whether Reid has the votes to change the rules, although the Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America and top Senate aides are confident Reid can marshal 51 members of his 54-member caucus to support at least easing the path for executive nominations such as Cabinet members.

There's real urgency in resolving all of the nominations, executive and judicial. The National Labor Relations Board, as CWA Larry Cohen pointed out in an interview with me a few weeks ago, will essentially cease to function if the president's appointments are not confirmed. With it go the protections for 80 million private sector workers. The crisis in the federal judiciary is very real, with more than 60 percent of the country living in a jurisdiction where there's at least one court vacancy, meaning our justice system is nearly as broken as our legislative system.

Here's where the danger lies for real reform, though, a danger that Sen. Jeff Merkley warned of in this interview from Netroots Nation: Democratic senators are always looking for a "reasonable compromise." That's what got us a useless "reform" back in January. The likelihood of another gang forming to fight real reform is very high and their likeliest compromise would be to allow majority votes on executive nominations, but leave the 60-vote threshold intact for judicial nominees. Already, Reid and the Democrats have dropped the idea of simple majority votes for legislation. It's easy to imagine them whittling the reform down even more, to the point where it's nearly as toothless as what they agreed to in January.

It's imperative for a functioning government and a functioning judiciary that no deals on filibuster reform are cut this time. Republicans are not going to live up to any deal they strike. We know that. It's been proven time and time again. So today is a good time to remind your Democratic senators of that truth.

Send an email to your Democratic senators telling them to reject any deals with Republicans and to vote for real filibuster reform.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (39+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:28:08 AM PDT

  •  The "Constitutional" verses the "Nuclear" Option (4+ / 0-)

    There is an important difference between the way Senate Dems. attempted to change the filibuster rules last January and way we are now proposing.  Last January we were talking about the "Constitutional" Option which (in a nut shell) is the adopting new Senate rules at the beginning of a new Congress by majority vote.  What we are talking about now is the "Nuclear" Option which is (again, in a nut shell) changing the Senate rules mid-term by majority vote.  The former is steeped in Senate president, the latter, not so much.  In fact, using the Nuclear Option to effect a rules change and not simply on a rules interpretation as done by Reid in the 1980s, has never been done (to the best of my knowledge).  If you want to delve further into the weeds on this, please see my Diary from January.

    The point being, if Reid balked at using the constitutional option (which has been used in the past), what is the likelihood that he will got through with the arguably more radical nuclear option?  

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:00:13 AM PDT

    •  They are both the Constitutional option (7+ / 0-)

      The Constitution says that each House makes up its own rules, but says nothing about either the timing or the filibuster itself.

       Article 1, Section 5.

      Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

      Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

      Although the rules may never have been changed mid-session, the rules have also never seen the level of abuse and obstruction as we've seen from the GOP minority since 2007.

      Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

      by bear83 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:20:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because the Constitutional Option is Nuclear (7+ / 0-)

      Harry Reid made a handshake agreement with The Turtle that the GOP would not filibuster uncontroversial nominees.  The GOP has broken that agreement.  Therefore this is not going "nuclear" it is fulfilling the agreement made back in January.

    •  Constitutional option (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J Orygun

      If you want to go back to the intentions of the Founding Fathers, the 60-votes for passage wasn't what they had in mind. They put the Vice President down as breaking ties, which means they were thinking 50-50, and 51-49 votes as being enough to pass.

      Filibusters, added much later, were not intended to become the normal procedure of the Senate. They were meant for extraordinary items only, and to make it hard to squelch debate.

      So far as I'm concerned, the Nuclear Option is the undermining of all aspects of governance under McConnell's effective obstruction, tantamount to nihilism. With a supporting role nod to Harry Reid (and even the President) for being submissive about it.

      Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

      by Land of Enchantment on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:41:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For you newbies: Don't put any hope in Reid. (17+ / 0-)

    I've seen these re-runs enough to know some political theater when I see it.  

    Harry will fold like a cheap suit.   Like he does every single time.

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:01:52 AM PDT

    •  Maybe not (5+ / 0-)

      If it can be used to shut down the few decent progressive senators that are left, they'll get it done in time to pass some landmark conservative things like cutting Social Security and flattening the tax code.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:09:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Harry Reid has been a horrible leader (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, Beelzebud

      since he was minority leader - he was a completely ineffective minority leader - and this has only been trumped by his ineffectiveness as majority leader

      Reid is the reason that I was secretly hoping for Sharron Angle's win in Nevada - Reid losing his seat would have been a one seat loss for the Democratic Senate - Reid's win has translated into a loss of the entire senate under Reid's bumbling incompetence

      "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

      by josephk on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:45:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Harry has been a better leader than Boehner. (0+ / 0-)

        (Damning with faint praise division).

        "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 Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:18:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  When did they drop the threat of simple majority (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Votes on legislation!!!!

      Fucking spineless wonders.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:57:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Harry Reid (0+ / 0-)

      is the best friend the republicans have in Washington.

  •  Oh lucky us! Harry Reid and his Filibuster Reform (6+ / 0-)

    make another appearance on stage at the Kabuki Theater of the Absurd.

    Move over, NSA!  One of the most popular Acts is about to crank up!

    Always a crowd pleaser!

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:05:40 AM PDT

  •  Too little too late (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Reid doesn't have the stomach for a real fight.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:06:05 AM PDT

  •  Three cheers for my Senators (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joan McCarter, elwior, KayCeSF

    Tom Udall has been leading the charge on this issue for a long time, and junior Senator Martin Heinrich is keeping his head down as a freshman, but is also on board with Udall policy-wise.

    A few years ago we had Bingaman and Domenici. I'm happy with the upgrade. (Not to diss Bingaman, who's made some very brave votes over the years.)

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:06:09 AM PDT

  •  Oh, I'm sure the Republicans will promise... (5+ / 0-)

    that if we don't reform the filibuster THIS time, they'll never use it again unless it's a dire need.

    And of course we'll need it if we're ever the minority party again, and we don't want to set a precedent.

    And this is really a good thing because it will cause the Republicans to lose the midterms if they continue to shut down the government.

    In the meantime, I will think about my health, and not hold my breath waiting on Reid.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:06:48 AM PDT

  •  When it's time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, CriticallyDamped

    for some kind of a grand bargain (their budget stuff in the fall) where they flatten the tax code a la Steve Forbes, cut the corp tax rate, cut Social Security, Medicare, then they will reform the filibuster.  It will be used as a weapon against the more liberal senators in the Senate.  I'll make a gentlewoman's bet on that if anyone cares to take it.  It will be under the guise of getting judges and nominees passed of course, but that urgency has been there for years.  Why now?  Because there are big things that need to get done that can only be done under this Democratic president, and because they have to get all the dirty work done as quickly as possible (though not in time to save the 2014 election, I suspect) so that they have a couple of years to throw some crumbs to the base and make them forget all about this before 2016.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:07:46 AM PDT

  •  Filibuster "Reform" (8+ / 0-)

    It's an illusion.

    It's meant to focus the base's attention on those oh so horrid Rethuglicans.

    It's an Excuse We Can Believe In.

    Can you imagine the Democrats killing the public option back when the (D) controlled House had already passed it?

    Yeah.  And therein is the purpose of the Filibuster: It allows the Dems to fight oh so bravely and then.. go down to defeat at the hands of those evil bad Rethuglicans.

    And for those who think the Dems need the filibuster to stop the odious Rethuglicans:

    Did (D)'s use the Filibuster to stop the following:

    -- Patriot Act
    -- Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
    -- Authorization To Destroy Iraq
    -- Bush's Odious Supreme Court Nominees?
    Nope?  It didn't, did it?  The Filibuster is nothing more than a stage prop.  And there is no way in hell the Democrats would give it up.

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:10:31 AM PDT

  •  Kabuki (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jds1978, NoMoJoe, happymisanthropy

    Upcoming: another lesson in bullshit.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:16:33 AM PDT

  •  Reid does not want filibuster reform. (4+ / 0-)

    Now or ever.

  •  Do It To Drive A Wedge Into The GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, elwior

    You're have the crybaby and nutjob Republicans but you'll also have those that don't want to be pushed to the side and have a record of being irrelevant. The former will do what they do, the latter will support legislation so that they can't be accused of being inert.

  •  I'm afraid one of my senators, (0+ / 0-)

    Chuck Schumer, is on the wrong side of this vital issue.  Sadly, he's got the power, if he wanted to use it, to push some weaker Senators in the right decision.  But so far, he's been wrong about this.  Can't understand it.  Does he hope to be the leader, and wants to keep his "friendships" with GOP senators?

    Never in history has so much money been spent to resist equality; the gross sums of money being spent to take us backwards is lewd, is pornographic is blatant and is arrogant. --Reverend Dr. William Barber, 2012

    by SottoVoce on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:17:19 AM PDT

  •  I contacted my Senators on this one, and I (0+ / 0-)

    urge everyone to do the same.
      The situation regarding presidential nominations has clearly gotten out of hand and common sense dictates a solution.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:17:25 AM PDT

  •  McConnell runs the country. (0+ / 0-)

    Reid does back-bend pretzels, comes up with a worthless filibuster "reform" document in January.  And NOTHING continues to get done.
    On the other hand, we have it on good authority (i.e. McConnell basically said) that if/when the GOP comes back to power, he'll kill the filibuster.  GOP über alles, apparently.
    So.. WTF?!?

    FIX THE GODDAMN THING.  PUT TEETH IN IT.  At the very least, make a #$*%& Senator stand on the floor and talk away instead of simply motioning an intent to launch a filibuster.  Like '57, Strom Thurmond, a Civil Rights vote, his 24 hr, 18 min speech, and his special catheter.

    But, I guess, it goes to show ya - the reason Reid can do all these pretzel moves in the first place, is that he apparently has no backbone.  At all.  None.  Zip.

    •  Reid doesn't need backbone (0+ / 0-)

      when he's got the unconditional backing of the entire caucus.  Talking a good fight before surrendering is his job.

      I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:08:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reid spends every minute of every day (0+ / 0-)

        trying to convince his own caucus to vote against their own ideals and platform for the good of the fraternal nature of the Senate.  

        Get rid of him.

        •  Only the caucus can get rid of him (0+ / 0-)

          (or his state electorate), and they chose him precisely because he never makes conservadems uncomfortable.

          The reason you want to get rid of him is precisely the reason he will stay.

          I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

          by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:27:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Seriously? (4+ / 0-)

    Are we really going to keep pretending that the Dems in the Senate actually want to fix this problem?

  •  Why is it that, outside the beltway, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, maryabein

    "gang" has an ugly connotation?

    Betchu REALLY wanna vote, now.

    by franklyn on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:39:30 AM PDT

  •  Harry doesn't need any help to derail (2+ / 0-)

    filibuster reform.  He's shown that he's quite capable of doing it all by himself.

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:42:17 AM PDT

  •  Having to put hope in Harry Reid. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, happymisanthropy

    God, what a recipe for FAIL.

    He is the epitome of a politician to me.

    ANd why I cannot be one.

  •  This is no more an immigration bill then (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, maryabein

    ACA was a health care bill.   They are both just corporate welfare programs.  40 billion for border security - wha a rip off.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren/Spitzer 2016

    by dkmich on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:45:25 AM PDT

  •  SPOILER ALERT: (0+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid will fold. There's not even any suspense, people.

    I agree that it's not particularly courageous to solve a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don't have lobbyists, or don't have clout.

    by teknofyl on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:04:55 AM PDT

  •  Republicans and the Islamic Brotherhood (0+ / 0-)

    Last week, with the turmoil in Egypt, I heard several commentators, from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum, talkiing about what the Islamic Brotherhood had done wrong.

    Almost without fail, each of the commentators stated that the Islamic Brotherhood were trying to use their small electoral majority to impose their own religious views on the population.  They stated that the Islamic Brotherhood was not trying to compromise with their political opponents or build a consensus, but were use political tactics that were intended to deny their political opponents a voice.

    As I listened to the analyses, I could not help but compare the tactics of the Islamic Brotherhood to our own Republican Party in the USA.  They refuse to compromise.  They refuse to seek a consensus.  They try to impose their own religious views on the population through political maneuvering.

    Strange, isn't it?  Why don't we hear the outrage?

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:07:05 AM PDT

  •  Oh please. (0+ / 0-)

    Of COURSE he won't reform filibuster.  You could have a Petition signed by everyone on the planet and Reid will STILL back down.

  •  Republican filibuster gives Dems cover (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CriticallyDamped, BeerNotWar

    otherwise they would have to vote too often in ways that would out them to their constituents.

    In CA, when a single payer health care system was up for a vote in the state senate, some brave Dems had to flee or abstain from voting to ensure its failure. One of them was rewarded with a Congressional seat for his bravery.

    That's how Dems do things, these days: Populist enough to get into office, then strait Ownership on the job.

  •  a functioning government? (0+ / 0-)

    a functioning judiciary?  lmao  that's a good one.  ;-)  s.

  •  Don't you guys remember the first (0+ / 0-)

    Yearly Kos in 2006 when Harry Reid spoke and received a standing ovation because he had threatened the "nuclear option?"  It was a joke then and it's more of a joke now.  If there has been a more worthless Democratic senate leader than Harry Reid, whether he's in the majority or minority, I can't remember him or her.

    Harry Reid is a wimp.

  •  We need a majority leader from a blue state (0+ / 0-)

    Go away, Harry, go away.

    "I still think politics is about who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing." -Molly Ivins

    by texaseditor on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:45:57 PM PDT

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