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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) participate in a news conference on March 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Senator Reid talked about the disagreement with Republicans over the pending highway bill.
It’s not often that you hear high-profile politicians openly admit they were wrong, but that is exactly what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did last week on the Senate floor as he apologized to senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) for squelching their 2010 quest to reform the Senate’s longstanding filibuster rule.
“They were right,” confessed Reid, “and the rest of us were wrong.”
The majority leader also demanded reformation of the filibuster.
“If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rule, because it’s been abused, abused and abused,” said Reid on the Senate floor.
Reid’s push for filibuster reform comes after Republicans refused to take up and pass a noncontroversial bill aimed at reauthorizing the Export-Import bank.
Changing the rule would normally require an unlikely two-thirds vote of the senate, but Reid has said he plans on altering the rule in January when a new Congress convenes and only a simple majority is required.
Both Republicans and Democrats have used the filibuster rule to their advantage, but have they truly “abused” it? Is Congress far too gridlocked? Is it really time to reform the rule?
Ken Rudin, political editor, NPR
Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean, University of California, Irvine’s school of law