Like clockwork the continued obstructionism of Senate Republicans has got Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to start vaguely threatening to fix the Senate, possibly in July. From Greg Sargent:
Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says, adding that senior Democrats expect the President to publicly push for it as well. “If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,” the aide says.
Reid is eyeing a change to the rules that would do away with the 60-vote threshold on all judicial and executive branch nominations, the aide says, on the theory that this is a good way to immediately break an important logjam in Washington — without changing the rules when it comes to legislation.
It is important to point out we have already seen this show played out before with zero results. At the beginning of 2011 Reid was talking about fixing the filibuster but at the last minute come to a toothless gentlemen’s agreement with Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Reid then threatened to do something at the start of this year but came to an agree with McConnell that included only meaningless temporary changes. Reid has a habit of talking a good game then backing down at the last minute.
If Reid did take this step it would be a big deal and go a long way toward fixing our comically dysfunctional Senate. It would make it possible for the President to actually govern as the Constitution intended. More importantly, it would prove that the 60 vote threshold is not an insurmountable obstacle but merely an idiotic procedural issue the majority can easily eliminate at anytime.
Given Reid’s history though, at this point it is best to remain highly skeptical.
Photo by Talk Radio News Service under Creative Commons license