Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell battled on the Senate floor over Reid’s proposal to end filibusters on “motions to proceed”, or the start of debate on a bill.
“To stomp a filibuster on a motion to proceed to a bill, to take 10 days to just get on a bill — I don’t think that’s good and we need to change that,” Reid said Monday on the Senate floor.
“He [McConnell] keeps talking about not following rules. We’re following the rules. We’re following the Constitution of the United States to make these changes and that’s certainly appropriate.” (RELATED: McConnell calls Reid’s rules changes a ‘naked power grab’)
McConnell asked Reid, “If this is such a reasonable rules change then why not work to try to propose it on a joint basis subjected to the 61 vote threshold?” and “How would you feel if two years from now I have your job and my members are saying well why don’t we get rid of the filibuster altogether with 51 votes?”
Reid responded, “I think that would be wrong but we’re not trying to get rid of the filibuster. What we’re doing, Mr. President, is changing a tiny aspect of what goes on around here.”
Under his proposed changes, Reid said members would not be able to filibuster “simply getting on a bill” or filibuster from their office.
“If they want to filibuster stand and talk about it, not be in your office some place,” said Reid.
Pointing fingers at the Republicans, Reid said Congress has “gotten almost nothing done” this session.
In response, McConnell said that the Senate has been “disastrously run” because of the “operation”, not the rules.
As an example, McConnell said the Democratic-controlled Senate has failed to pass a budget in the last three years under Reid’s leadership.
“Most people work Monday to Friday, not us,” McConnell said.
Before their exchange on the floor, McConnell accused Reid of proposing to “break the rules” of the Senate in order to “change” them.
“What the majority leader is saying is he will break the rules of the Senate in order to change the rules of the Senate. It has been the case in the past that it took a super majority of 67 which of course meant that most rules changes occurred because the two leaders agreed to them and were proposing them jointly, instead what the majority leader is saying is that he will propose to change the rules with 51 votes, meaning his side gets to decide what the rules are,” said McConnell.