The next time a minority of senators find something the majority supports to be objectionable, they may be required to take the Senate floor and explain just why they object. And when they’re done with that, they’ll have to keep talking, and talking, and talking.
The most persistent advice that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he gets from liberals he meets across the country is as simple as it is frustrating: “Make them actually filibuster!”
The advice grew loud enough in 2009 that Reid’s office leaked a memo to HuffPost explaining why exactly Senate Democratic leaders can’t force Republicans to talk out their filibuster, Mr. Smith-style. In 2011, Reid flirted with filibuster reform, but backed off at the last minute, striking a handshake deal with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) instead. That agreement — that the two would cooperate to make sure the chamber ran smoothly — lasted as long as one might expect.
Now, Reid is ready to pull the trigger on a change. “I was wrong,” Reid said recently about his unwillingness to back a handful of junior senators who were pushing for reform.
With Reid’s backing, the reform caucus stands a good chance of enacting rules changes. The plan they’re putting forward is still taking shape as the reformers work to gather support, but its central tenets were laid out by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in an interview with The Huffington Post.
CONTINUED at the Huffington Post.