Republicans threaten to shut down the Senate over majority rule

Harry Reid and Democrats in the Senate are considering passing rules to drastically reduce -- but not eliminate -- the filibuster.

Here's what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering: banning filibusters used to prevent debate from even starting and House-Senate conference committees from ever meeting. He also may make filibusters become actual filibusters - to force senators to carry out the nonstop, talkathon sessions. (Politico, via Steve Benen)

Reform is long overdue (although I don't know that I agree with the live filibuster). The Senate has been completely paralyzed for far too long. This is also a great time to make the change, since Republican control of the House means it's not just a Democratic power grab, while President Obama in the White House eliminates the chance for total Republican control in 2014.

Republicans, who are responsible for the worst abuses of Senate procedures, have threatened to "shut down the Senate" in retaliation. There's just one problem with this threat: they've already been doing that for four years. How will we be able to tell the difference?

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