To the dismay of many of the left, who expected the filibuster capability of the minority party in the Senate to be virtually eliminated, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell reached a much more limited compromise on changing the Senate rules.
SENATE MAJORITY Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) struck a deal Thursday to reform their chamber’s rules, to the outrage of those hoping that Mr. Reid would significantly weaken the filibuster.
Common Cause called it “capitulation” Credo labeled it “a compromised bait-and-switch.”
President Obama “might as well take a four-year vacation,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) — despite the fact that an unreformed Senate has played a crucial role over the past two years in striking bipartisan bargains between Mr. Obama and the GOP-controlled House.
Wow sounds like the end of democracy as we know it today.
Mr. Reid secured restrictions on when the minority can use filibusters — for example, on motions to proceed to consider legislation, where filibusters eat up valuable time. In return,
Mr. McConnell got assurance that the minority party can offer at least two amendments to legislation that isn’t subject to filibuster at that stage.
The deal also does something to redress one of the most galling examples of Washington dysfunction — the chronic inability of the executive branch and the Senate to staff the government through a badly clogged appointment process.
After clearing a 60-vote hurdle, most presidential nominations can now go to a vote almost immediately.
Why is this compromise important and better than the alternative would have been?
Instead of jamming more ambitious reforms through on a partisan, simple-majority vote, Mr. Reidhashed them out with Mr. McConnell. In so doing, he offered a rare example of bipartisan accord, dodged the threat of partisan blowback hobbling the Senate and avoided setting a dangerous precedent for minority rights in his chamber.
Rules changes typically require 67 votes, an arrangement that Mr. Reid’s Democrats will cherish when they find themselves once again in the minority.