Jan 22, 2013 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Excerpted from The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is giving Republican colleagues 36 hours to agree to a deal on filibuster reform or he will move forward with the nuclear option.
“I hope in the next 24, 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we’re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done,” Reid told reporters.
Reid’s trump card in negotiations with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is the threat he will change Senate rules with a simple majority vote, a tactic known as the nuclear option. This maneuver would allow Reid to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote, something that has never been done, according to parliamentary experts.
Critics call it the nuclear option but proponents, such as Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) say it is more accurate to describe it as the “Constitutional option” because the Constitution empowers each chamber to set its own rules.
Reid predicted the Democratic caucus would support him in reforming the Senate’s filibuster rule unilaterally.
If he did so, he would likely implement a relatively modest change, such as eliminating the filibuster on motions to proceed to new business.
Reid said talks with McConnell are not close to a resolution.
“We’re making progress. Not done yet, we got a long way to go,” he told reporters while walking into the Senate chamber.
A senator briefed on the talks said it appears McConnell will have trouble rounding up enough Republican votes to support any deal he forges with Reid. Changing the rules under regular order requires 67 votes. Reforming Senate procedures through a standing order would need 60 votes.
A Democratic aide said McConnell could have difficulty mustering 12 Republicans to vote to change the standing rules under regular order.