Skip to main content

Tomorrow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) will meet with Senate Democrats to discuss the nuclear option:

He was asked if he's prepared to scale back the filibuster with the so-called nuclear option if Republicans don't ease their blockade on the nominees.

"I'm going to have a caucus on this Thursday," Reid said. "And I think Thursday by the time the day is out you'll have a better idea of what we're going to try to do on this." - TPM, 7/10/13

And Senator Jeff Merkley (D. OR), the leading Senator on filibuster reform, says this time it's time to stop playing nice:

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that the fact that so-called “gentlemen’s agreements” with Republicans, and the weak reforms accompanying them, have failed “has not gone unnoticed.” “A third gentlemen’s agreement,” Merkley added, “is not an acceptable outcome.”

Significantly, however, Merkley concluded that the Senate needs a path to ensure up or down votes on “executive nominations.” A small number of Senate Democrats have indicated that they are willing to eliminate the filibuster on executive branch nominees, but that they may be more reluctant to do so on judicial nominees. If the Senate ultimately excludes judges from reform, it is likely that additional reforms will ultimately be required to ensure that Senate Republicans cannot hold up all confirmations on the nation’s second most powerful court — or ultimately filibuster anyone a Democratic president nominates to the Supreme Court. - Think Progress, 7/10/13

Merkley also brushed off any concerns about changing the filibuster rules if the Republicans were to become the majority party after the 2014 election:

He said that the level of concern about future repercussions when the roles reverse and a Republican president sends nominees to a GOP-led Senate have been fading.

“It is lessening because the frustration is growing. In other words, a modest amount of obstruction, an occasional request for a supermajority … once or twice a year might be one thing, but when it’s continuous on person after person after person, it’s just a very clear strategy to disable an administration re-elected by the American people,” Merkley said.

That may also be in part because of the reduced number of Democratic senators with experience serving with a GOP majority leader.

“If anyone thinks a future President Perry or a future President Palin and a future Majority Leader McConnell are not going to work together and if necessary change the rules as they proposed in 2005 to get nominations considered, I think you’re probably in an … imaginary world,” Merkley said. - Roll Call, 7/10/13

Merkley, as always, is absolutely right about this.  It's time to stop worrying about the GOP regaining the majority and make the Senate function properly.  Reid's office recently released a video of Senate Republicans blasting the filibuster back in 2005:

Not to mention Senate Republicans have greatly abused the filibuster since Obama took office:  

Senate Republicans have also wielded the filibuster with unprecedented frequency, the number of votes taken to break a filibuster doubled after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took over as Republican leader:
Similarly, Democrats under Bush never did anything like attempt to shut down a recently created agency by filibustering anyone nominated to lead it. They never tried to unilaterally repeal most of the law’s protections for unions by refusing to confirm anyone to a key labor agency. And they never threatened to filibuster a nominee that even Ted Cruz could raise no objection against in order to maintain partisan control over a powerful court. Indeed, since 1949, when the Senate rules created the modern process allowing a “cloture” vote to end a filibuster on a presidential nominee, a total of 36 executive branch nominees have received such a vote. Nearly half of them occurred under President Obama.

In other words, as recently as 2005, filibusters were a rare maneuver typically only used against nominees viewed as unusually offensive. Now they are used to shut down agencies, to neutralize laws and to shape the outcome of court decisions. It’s not surprising that many senators who supported the first kind of filibuster are no longer willing to accept the later. - Think Progress, 7/10/13

Please do contact your Senator and urge them to make filibuster reform a reality:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Koscadia, PDX Metro, In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Daily Kos Oregon.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site