Republicans in the Senate have been blocking an extension of unemployment benefits since December, filibustering every attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid to restore benefits to the long-term unemployed. That's just the latest example of ongoing Republican obstruction, added to a very, very long list of legislative efforts the GOP has stopped. In fact, since Democrats invoked the nuclear option on presidential nominees, Republicans have arguably become even more obstructive in retaliation. It's enough to make Reid consider further filibuster reform.
A coalition of labor and liberal groups have pressed Reid to make additional changes to the Senate rules this year, something that senior Democratic aides say is very possible. [...]It shouldn't just be considered a possibility, it should be considered a necessity. Just last week, 59 senators could not provide a big enough majority to pass essential benefits to the long-term unemployed. The opposition of 41 ruled. That's just wrong.
The coalition, known as Fix the Senate Now, includes Alliance for Justice, the Communications Workers of America, Common Cause and the Sierra Club.
Reid is reluctant to provoke another confrontation with Republican colleagues over the rules, but he’s frustrated with the continued obstruction and needs the help of outside groups to turn out voters in the midterm elections.
“Reid is not afraid to go further and considers reform this year a real possibility,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide.
Reid and his fellow Democrats can change that, and they could do it and still preserve the right of the minority to block legislation. Using the nuclear option to implement the real filibuster, the talking filibuster, would do the trick. It would force Republicans to have to really fight, to organize and to hold the floor, in order to block legislation. If Republicans actually had to work to make a filibuster happen, we'd be seeing it happen a lot less frequently.