Sen. Harry Reid, ready for real reform?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is getting a big batch of new senators into his caucus in January, new Democratic senators who have made the pledge
to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to join the filibuster reformers already in the Democratic caucus. It sounds like Reid's going to enlist them
"I want to work together, but I also want everyone to also understand, you cannot push us around. We want to work together," Reid said.
"I do" have plans to change the Senate rules, he added. "I have said so publicly and I continue to feel that way ... I think the rules have been abused, and we are going to work to change them. We will not do away with the filibuster, but we will make the senate a more meaningful place. We are going to make it so we can get things done." [...]
"The first thing is the most important thing," Reid said the interview. "Do away with motion to proceed. Just do away with it. I favor the filibuster. There's a reason for the filibuster. I understand it. It's to protect the rights of the minority. The Senate was set up to protect the rights of the minority ... so that's the no. 1 issue, and the rest of the stuff we can deal with if there's a filibuster conducted. Those are the kind of things—if we get the motion to proceed out of the way, we can debate it, one, to cloture. That's good. So that's the no. 1 biggie."
Reid has talked about wanting reform before, in fact at the beginning of the last session of Congress, the last time there was this opportunity. Sen. Merkley and Sen. Tom Udall, who were pushing hard for extensive reform then didn't think the modest reforms Reid agreed to with the other members of the Congress went far enough. Now Reid thinks it didn't go far enough.
This is what our "Upgrade the Senate" campaign was all about, swelling the ranks of the reformers in the caucus to make a more progressive policy agenda even a possibility, making obstruction by Republicans a difficult and painful thing.