Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is reportedly planning to push filibuster reform at the start of the next session of congress with two specific changes in mind.
“There are discussions going on now, but I want to tell everybody here: I’m happy, I’ve had a number of Republicans come to me and a few Democrats,” the Democratic majority leader told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We’re going to change the rules. We cannot continue in this way. So I hope we can get something Republicans will work with us on.
“But it won’t be a handshake,” Reid added. “We tried that last time; it didn’t work.”
At the beginning of next Congress, Reid will be able to bypass the two-thirds majority ordinarily required for Senate rule changes and approve them with 51 votes. He hopes to deny the minority at least two existing powers: one to block legislative debate from beginning, and another to filibuster silently without a critical mass of senators in the chamber voicing their opposition. Other rules changes are also under discussion.
In case you weren’t aware, all sitting members do not have to be present to filibuster debate on legislation. It only requires one senator with the time and audacity.
If Reid is successful and these changes do take effect, the Senate may begin to resemble British parliament more than what we’re used to seeing.