Republican Senators Propose Bipartisan Meeting to Stop Harry Reid's New Campaign for Filibuster Reform

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 11 2013 11:30 AM

Republican Senators Propose Bipartisan Meeting to Stop Harry Reid's New Campaign for Filibuster Reform

173184727
Harry Reid wants to unlock the grid.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Two weeks ago the Senate finished its big bipartisan goal of the year—the passage of a comprehensive immigration bill. Last week Democrats coaxed their top candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, into a race against Sen. Mitch McConnell. That made the party more confident that a tough 2014 campaign would likely end with another Democratic majority in the Senate.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

That's the setup for this week's public battle over filibuster reform. It broke out again this morning on the Senate floor, when the party leaders used their pro forma speeches to tear into each other.

"The Senate has confirmed every single one of the Cabinet nominees that has been brought up for a vote this year—every single one," said Mitch McConnell. "The president has gotten nearly three times as many judges confirmed at this point in his second term as President Bush. Here's the point. What this whole so-called crisis boils down to—what it all comes down to—are three nominees that the president unlawfully appointed, as confirmed by the courts. And one of those nominees had been held up by inaction over at the White House related to structural reforms that the administration—and even the nominee himself—now say they are willing to work with us on."

Advertisement

Other Republicans joined McConnell with data, quoting Congressional Research Service reports to prove that there wasn't really a problem with confirming new nominees. That wasn't what concerned Harry Reid. Republicans were shouting about the "unconstitutionality" of Obama's recess appointees (for now, they're backed up by the D.C. circuit, pending a Supreme Court ruling) and refusing to confirm National Labor Relations Board members or confirm Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "I'm so tired of hearing this, tweaking," said Reid, deriding the Republican promise that Cordray would be confirmed if the CFPB's budget were handed over to Congress. He didn't trust them, and he didn't need to.

"It's worth talking a little bit here about how the Republican leader complains the American people just don't like Congress," said Reid. "Well, there's a reason for that, and the Republican caucus deserves most of the blame ... they don't like Congress because of gridlock and not getting anything done. Is that our fault? No."

The debate shifted a bit when Republicans who occasionally cross over to vote with Democrats offered to break bread. Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker asked whether Democrats would meet in the Old Senate Chamber, a short walk from the current chamber, to see if they could hash this out. Reid is meeting with Democrats today about a filibuster reform strategy, and talking about this on Monday at the Center for American Progress. He was not moved.

But this debate isn't necessarily about forcing through a real filibuster reform. Democrats jangle these chains from time to time to spook Republicans into a vote on a nominee they're holding up. He actually got McConnell closer to a vote—in his floor speech, McConnell said the nominees to run the EPA and Labor "already have enough votes to clear a 60-vote hurdle."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.