Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is changing the filibuster process, dubbing it “filibuster reform,” in order to shut out the voices of the minority party.

Reid’s “filibuster reform” would “allow less time for deliberation on legislation and nominations for Senators, meaning less time for the American public to view that deliberation,” The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Darling reports.

In addition, Darling explains, in trying to “squelch the rights of individual members of the U.S. Senate…Reid has to ignore the letter of the rules to ‘reform’ them with a simple-majority party-line vote.”

Conservatives may be able to use Reid’s plan to their advantage. Darling explains:

What Reid is trying to do is wrong, yet the only way for conservatives to fight back is to engage the fight. If Reid is going to push the theory that until the Senate operates under the rules, there are no rules, then he has provided an unprecedented opportunity for conservatives to push some real Senate rules reform ideas. If there are no rules, then Reid can’t stop conservatives from offering a never-ending stream of rules change ideas for the Senate to cast votes on.

Darling offers some examples of rules that Senate conservatives should work to change to ensure a better-functioning legislative system:

  • A new two-thirds point of order against any infringement on the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. This would be subject to a simple majority vote under Reid’s theory. There is a pro-gun majority in the Senate today, and this might actually pass. It would be a great tool for conservatives to forever block reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in addition to any other gun-grabbing ideas.
  • A new two-thirds point of order against any net tax increase on the American people as scored by the Congressional Budget Office. This would be subject to a simple majority vote and is part of the Senate version of the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution supported by all members of the current Republican caucus.
  • A new point of order preventing the Senate Majority Leader from blocking amendments by filling up all the areas of the amendment tree with pro-forma amendments. Reid has used this tactic to prevent members from offering amendments. A new point of order should be proposed to prevent that tactic for Reid or any future Majority Leader.
  • A new point of order to make Senators sign a consent form before a bill is passed by “Unanimous Consent” or “UC.” Many times, the Senate operates by waiving the rules with the consent of all Senators. Many times the bills passed are opposed by members, but they fear getting blamed for obstructing bills by forcing the Senate to abide by all the rules to pass a bill or confirm a nomination. This would put all members explicitly on the record supporting legislation that sneaks through the Senate under the radar.

Do you think Harry Reid is right to push for “filibuster reform”?

Comments (16)

Barry Laird - December 4, 2012

Good points that Republicans could use to their advantage, but would they? I think Boehner has suggested turning the tables on Reid by not allowing Reid’s Bills to see the light of day in the House. I guess that is a case of turnabout is fair play?

David Schoffstall - December 4, 2012

Harry Reid is trying to do anything he can to silence the minority. He along with all other leaders in the District of Corruption, on both sides of the aisle, are terrible leaders. It isn’t about political discourse and listening to opposing points of view. Increasingly, it’s more about control of government by an ever shrinking group of tyrants.

Richard Hunter - December 4, 2012

If Reid doesn’t play fair, why should the Republicans? Democrats use every device they can find to advance their agenda, so why should the Republicans give them the advantage?

Dewey Switzer - December 4, 2012

I like Boehner’s idea but I’m not sure he could do it.
The Points of Order suggested should be used post haste.
Has a downside of these been evaluated?

Wanda Simmons - December 4, 2012

The Republicans, especially Mitt Romney tries to act like the adults in the room. The behavior I see from the Democrats seem childish and surly at best; mean spirited, whiney, self-centered and spiteful most of the time. They seem so caught up patting themselves on the back for winning the whitehouse that they don’t have any interest in actually running the country.

hans kurr - December 4, 2012

Tragically for America, Boehner, “Republican” in name only, represents in essence only the Establishment & the “Incumbent Party.” Along with the rest of his ilk, i.e., long-“serving” “Democrats” AND “Republicans,” he deems normal and lawful such un-constitutional, but by now deeply entrenched aberrations as presidential “Executive Orders” (treated as “instant law’,” though never ratified by Congress), radical procedural departures from the real world such as “stopping the clock” on decisions with budgetary/fiscal implications, unilateral presidential decisions to take America into war(s) without any prior Congressional declaration, subordinating foreign policy moves, by contrast, to prior authorization by inter-national bodies utterly un-responsive or even hostile to the needs and wishes of American citizens and voters.

In short, Boehner, right along with Reid and his boss, accepts as perfectly natural a whole panoply of machinations collectively amounting to repudiation of common sense as well as of the checks and balances our Founders rightly saw as indispensable to any real Republic.

Boehner “Republicans” concede, if only by default, the “legitimacy” of their opponents’ invocation of, inter alia, bogus “fairness”…as if, for instance, small-business owners – who, if only allowed to work, have proven that THEY generate far more new jobs than ANYbody else, Big Corporations and, of course, Government included – weren’t already paying their “fair” share of taxes…and then some. Boehner Republicans lose by not really ever battling, letting their foe define the very terms of engagement and setting themselves up for being demonized as “heartless spoilers” by their Congressional “colleagues,”. by the President and by the self-prostituted “mainstream” media flacks who aid and abet this demonization.

Until true champions of our Constitution replace the Boehner wing of the Incumbent Party, I see no chance of genuine tax reform – i.e., tax reduction by virtue of broadening the tax base and radically simplifying procedures – and no chance of elimination of careerism in politics by virtue of term limits, across-the-board applicability of ALL legislation to all legislators as well as elimination of all pensions for politicians at any and all levels — in short, restoration of elective office as a short-term PRIVILEGE, to be followed in each and every case by fairly swift re-immersion in the real world, where the rest of “just-folks” have to live.

Kathy Cruz - December 5, 2012

I do not trust Boehner!! The House should follow the ideas presented above, however, I do not think Boehner will do it. I have heard rumors that he has removed true conservatives from decision making appointments in order to avoid any dissenting voices. Republicans/Conservatives need to grow a backbone. Too bad the people in charge are in areas that I will not be able to “not vote for” in the next election. We need to replace the “good ol’ boy” representatives with elected officials that are not concerned about how the press or liberals view them.

Arthur R. Mason - December 5, 2012

I think one thing that should be cut first and that is all federal salaries as most are higher than industrial jobs of similar work requirements. And this to include Congress (both houses) and the President. Also they should go after the Democratic party to pay for all of Obama’s trips when he was going for money.

bill roman - December 5, 2012

God help us. Reid and the administration want it all. And they are accustomed to getting “co-operation” from republicans who are being played for patsies. Geitner used semanatics on the Sunday interviews this week with his proposterous proposals from his side. No mentiion of the word “CUT” (the spending- look for ways talk about them stop the madness..Hold the line. Say NO!!! to spending increases.

James Stephen Twiford - December 5, 2012

I have no faith in Boehner, he has shown us time & time again, that he can’t or won’t stand up to obama , he seems always willing to compromise, without getting anything in return.

Tom Costello - December 5, 2012

MR. Boehner do the right thing we voted for the principles upon which this nation was founded. WE support you do not walk away this is way to important.

Jeanne Edgeington - December 5, 2012

I wish they would do whatever it takes to block Harry Reid. In fact, if the pundits want to know why a large block of Republicans did not vote, it was because of Boehner caving. Please stand for our principles. Or aren’t they the Republican principles anymore? I was counting on the House (and the money control) to keep us from being completely destroyed!

Gary Hendricks - December 6, 2012

Boehner has no courage or convictions. I am not sure why he is there. He does not represent all of us who voted to stop thia agenda.

Barbara LaRue - December 6, 2012

I think Reid should be stopped at all costs. The Senate is supposed to be where bad bills are stopped. Boehner should be replaced as speaker as he has done a losy job. We need someone that will not cave or punish congressmen that hold true to what they were elected for. The House has the purse string so they should just not fund programs or agencies they want to cut. We should also make Oboma pay for his own trips and vacations. Senator Tom Colburn has found 9 trillion in overlapping programs and agencies. Start there.

Allen Burt - December 6, 2012

I agree with the last paragraph of Hans Kurr’s Dec. 4 comments. “True champions of our constitution” are needed in all political positions, along with limited terms and NO retirement income. Things will only get worse until this is acomplished.

Lester St. Andrie - January 26, 2013

How could any Senator vote for this stupid idea. When will the Republican Party show us some guts?

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