Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell spar over U.S. Senate filibuster rules
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Wednesday said that he is standing firm on his proposal to change the current Senate filibuster rules should the Democrats retain majority in the next Congress.
Reid was responding to the challenge from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that his plan to get rid of some filibusters could result to unintended consequences.
Both McConnell and Reid had a heated exchange on the Senate floor, where the Republican lawmaker issuing a warning that the move could open the door for the GOP to finally repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law by just using a simple majority if the GOP gets to grab control of the Senate.
McConnell raised the matter after Reid said in an interview with MSNBC that he will propose changes to the decades-old rule that require a “super-majority” 60 votes to end the debate on a certain bill if the Democrats win the Senate.
Reid would need to get that change done quickly at the start of the next Congress by just a simple majority vote. However, if he attempts to make a similar change at any other time in the session, he would need 67 votes.
The Nevada senator explained that he wants senators to be able to filibuster bills to prevent them from passing, but at the same time he wants to do away with the existing rules requiring 60 votes to begin any debate on most legislation.
The battle between the two leaders in the Senate on Wednesday regarding internal Senate rules could just be a preview of more possible stalemates in the weeks ahead.
For months now, Reid has been talking about his plans to change the filibuster rule, and his recent remarks provide the biggest leap so far in his threats since it details an actual pledge that the Democrats will pursue the change if they win in November.
McConnell blasted plans to do away with the long-standing Senate procedure since he thinks the the chamber does not “have a rule problem” and lawmakers from the Democratic party are the ones who are not willing to work with Republicans to find a common ground on measures they want to pass.