Time will tell if Harry Reid's not so thinly veiled threat to Republicans will do an ounce of good and put a stop to the Republicans abusing the use of the filibuster, but after what we've put up with and the unprecedented levels of obstruction since President Obama was elected, I'm glad to hear he's at least open to putting an end to it.
Majority Leader Reid has been fighting the battle to get the Senate moving again in an incremental fashion. He gave Republicans numerous opportunities to cooperate before he unleashed the nuclear option. Reid’s answer to the question of whether or not he was considering eliminating all filibusters was telling. The Nevada Democrat didn’t say no. He said that he is not considering it today.
This answer left the door open for Sen. Reid to consider it later if Republicans continue to obstruct and grind the Senate to a halt. For those who were wondering how Reid would respond to Mitch McConnell’s plan to get revenge for the nuclear option by slowing the Senate to a crawl, you now have your answer.
McConnell’s moronic revenge plan could end up costing Republicans the ability to filibuster legislation. Harry Reid delivered his first warning to Senate Republicans. His message was that they need to quit obstructing and playing games, or Democrats would take away their obstructionist toys. In the same interview, Reid also pointed out that the filibuster is not in the Constitution. He added that the filibuster is privilege, not a right.
We'll have tons of howling from the right should he make good on it and then of course, there's still the House and John Boehner to contend with.
Transcript via CBS:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this, Senator: I think most people would say that last-- the last meeting of Congress was probably the least productive, maybe in history. It's certainly the least productive that I can remember. What you seem to be saying to me is, listen, we are in for the absolute same thing, nothing much is going to change here.
SENATOR HARRY REID: Bob, unless the Republicans in Congress decide they should do something for the American people, I am sorry to say that’s true. Rating of Congress is down. If somebody called me on a poll I would vote with them. This is awful what's been going on. And that’s-- that’s the reason, Bob, that we had to change the rules. They were even opposing people who were part of Obama’s team. Never in the history of the country to show you how outline this has gotten. My predecessor, one of my predecessors, Lyndon Johnson was leader for six years. He had to overcome one or two filibusters; me, four hundred and thirty filibusters. Things are gotten way out of whack and that’s why we change the rules, and now we say, majority-- majority of them not such a bad word is it, majority is going to determine who can be on President Obama's team. The Founding Fathers, you know, this-- this filibuster that they so love is not part of the Constitution. It’s not a privilege, it’s a right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this.
SENATOR HARRY REID: I mean, I'm sorry, it’s a privilege not a right. And-- and, Bob, just-- also I want to just say this, the Founding Fathers they decided what should be a super majority, you know, impeachments and stuff like that. One of them wasn’t improving nominations-- approving nominations.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this: I mean listening to you this morning if the Republicans continue to throw up the kind of opposition you’ve been receiving, you say you’ve been receiving, do you have plans to extend this ban on filibusters? Right now you’ve-- you’ve worked out this rule which they vehemently oppose that-- so they-- it’s very difficult for him to filibuster nominations. Would you be willing to just go to a Senate where just majority rules and that’s it?
SENATOR HARRY REID: Well, Bob, I think it’s something that we have to understand.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So you’re thinking about that?
SENATOR HARRY REID: But that-- that’s-- that’s-- that’s this. We cannot have a country that’s paralyzed because of a group of people, the group of people who are like Tea Party-driven Republicans in Congress, not Republicans. I'm not here to bad mouth the Republicans around the country. I get a lot of support from Republicans in Nevada, and always have had. But they are mainstream Republicans. They’re not driven by this craziness that we have in American today. So the answer is this: We-- we-- we should pass raising the minimum wage. We should extend unemployment benefits. We should get rid of these tax loopholes and create jobs so the middle class can-- can start growing, not shrinking.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But would you do away with filibusters entirely?
SENATOR HARRY REID: Well, I’m-- we’re-- we're not there yet. I think that we-- we--
BOB SCHIEFFER: I mean are you even thinking about that?
SENATOR HARRY REID: No, I’m not thinking about it today. But I-- I think--
BOB SCHIEFFER: You’re saying you’re holding that out. Is-- that is a possibility?
SENATOR HARRY REID: I-- I-- I think everyone should understand that the country cannot continue on the road that it’s on. It cannot have-- you cannot have when you have vacancies in the judiciary as we’ve had, DC Circuit, some say it’s more important than the Supreme Court. But it’s, at least, the second most important. They said we’re not going to fill these spots because we don’t want to. You can't. That’s not the way we legislate.