Harry Reid Moves To Limit GOP Filibusters

Well it hasn’t even been 24 hours since the end of the election, in which Barack Obama said he wanted to work with those across the aisle, and we are already seeing the process underway to shut the mouths of Republicans in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Wednesday that he will make an attempt to push through changes to the Senate rules regarding filibustering.

“I think that the rules have been abused and that we’re going to work to change them,” he told reporters. “Were not going to do away with the filibuster but we’re going to make the Senate a more meaningful place.”

Understand, the Republicans have 47 of the Senate’s seats and they can use that power to block virtually anything, and I might add should. In order to overcome a filibuster it currently takes 60 senators.

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The Washington Times reports,

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Leaders of both parties have been reluctant to change the rules because they value it as a tool when they are in the minority.

But Mr. Reid said things changed over the last few years when he repeatedly faced off against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, who had said his chief political goal was defeating Mr. Obama. Mr. Reid said that led the GOP to abuse the filibuster.

He did not say what changes he would support, though colleagues of his have proposed several potential changes.

One leading option would eliminate the chance to filibuster bringing a bill to the floor, though it would still let a minority filibuster actual passage. That proposal would also limit the number of amendments allowed by each side.

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said, “We hope Democrats will work toward allowing members of both sides to be involved in the legislative process — rather than poisoning the well on the very first day of the next Congress. And that Sen. Reid will honor his public commitment to do rules changes only through the regular order.”

Guy Benson at Townhall.com makes four points concerning what Reid is proposing:

(1) Even if Republicans were itching to "abuse" the filibuster to shut down a Democratic budget, they couldn't.  Budgets only require a simple majority to pass.  Democrats have held a simple majority in the Senate for six years.  They haven't even attempted to pass a budget for the last three.  The purpose, again, was to avoid putting their own unpopular ideas on paper, thus liberating them to simply criticize the other side's solutions.  This cynical ploy was vindicated on election day, sadly.

(2) Democrats cite Republicans' inexcusable obstruction of President Obama's judicial appointments as a pressing cause for change.  In fact, the GOP has used the judicial filibuster sparingly (their frustration over this form of filibuster nearly triggered filibuster changes in 2005), adhering to the bipartisan "Gang of 14" compromise, as well as the so-called Thurmond/Leahy rule (under which the opposition blocks judicial appointments in the months leading up to a presidential election).

(3) When some Republicans proposed the "nuclear option" to limit filibusters of judicial appointees by changing the rules during the Bush years, Democrats melted down.  This idea amounted to a mortal threat to the republic, they argued in hysterical floor speeches.  California's Diane Feinstein gravely warned that the Republican plan would put the Senate on a slippery slope — ultimately leading to tampering with the sacred legislative filibuster…which is precisely what Reid is moving to do now.  Flashback:

(4) Maybe Reid can also work on abolishing the House of Representatives while he's at it.

Hopefully the Republican Senators will realize what they are up against and take a stand against an all out power grab by Reid and company.

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