In Senator Harry Reid’s first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn’t go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won’t be tolerated — or as technically feasible.
Reps. John Lewis, D-GA, Michael Michaud, D-ME, Hank Johnson, D-GA, and Keith Ellison, D-MN. argue that the Constitution sets out super-majority requirements only in special cases, to override a presidential veto or ratify a treaty, for example. It does not permit the Senate to require more than a simple majority just to begin debate; and the Supreme Court already has said that a legislative body’s rules cannot conflict with the Constitution.
Aaron Belkins writes, “Election day 2012 was a great day on so many levels, but one of the most pleasant surprises was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s pledge to consider reforming the filibuster, the antiquated Senate rule that allows a minority to block legislation. Senator Reid has made similar pledges in the past without taking action, but hopefully this time he is serious.”
South Carolina Republican Senator Jim Demint argues that Reid’s call for reform would do away with the minority’s historic rights because they are an inconvenience to the Democrats’ liberal, uncompromising political agenda.