In the past President Obama has spoken out in favor of the general idea reforming the Senate rules to reduce obstructionism, but now the White House is throwing its support behind a specific set of proposals put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. From the Huffington Post:
“The President has said many times that the American people are demanding action,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “They want to see progress, not partisan delay games. That hasn’t changed, and the President supports Majority Leader Reid’s efforts to reform the filibuster process.”
“Over the past few years important pieces of legislation like the DREAM Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the American Jobs Act weren’t even allowed to be debated, and judicial nominations and key members of the administration are routinely forced to wait months for an up-or-down vote,” Pfeiffer added. “The American people deserve a United States Senate that puts them first, instead of partisan delay.”
Reid’s proposal would not eliminate the filibuster. It would instead required Senators who want to prevent a vote to continuously hold the floor. What impact this would have depends on exactly how the rule is written and interrupted. It would also remove the need for a cloture vote on motions to proceed.
Reid plans to enact these changes at the beginning of the next session with a simple majority vote. Having the active support of the White House for the reforms should assure that Reid will have the votes he needs from his caucus.
What may turn out to be more important than the actual rules changes, is the fact that any changes are adopted with only a simple majority. If obstructionism continues the rule can just as easily be changed again in the near future.