In a rather monumental development Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the filibuster to be reformed on the Senate floor. From Politico:
“If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight,” Reid said on the floor. “These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame.”
Reid added: “If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rules, because it’s been abused, abused, abused.”
I believe we are fast approaching the point where it is not a question of if the Senate rules regarding the filibuster are going to be reformed but simply a matter of when and how.
It is important to remember that the founders clearly intended the Senate to be a majority chamber and didn’t plan for there to be a filibuster. It only emerged later accidentally as a result of sloppy rule writing.
The shameful concept of the filibuster only survived for so long because it was reserved almost exclusively for suppressing African Americans. During a much more racist time the Senate thought it was good to have a special rule that basically only applied to preventing civil rights legislation.
It is only in the past year few years it has turned into a de facto 60 vote threshold for anything. Combine that with the fact that our political parties are becoming more ideologically unified, and it has made our Senate truly unworkable. The pure nonsensical stupidity of how the chamber is now run is a national shame.
This was obvious for a long time to any rational observer, but most Senators trying to jealously guard their power under the guise of defending “tradition” were slow to acknowledge reality. Now that even the leader of the Senate is forced to acknowledge what a joke the rules have turned the chamber into, reform is probably not far off.