WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered a simple solution to Republicans who do not want him to change rules governing the filibuster: stop filibustering presidential nominees.
Reid caused an uproar last week when said he would change the rules of the Senate to allow a simple majority vote to overcome a filibuster of presidential nominees, rather than the 60 votes currently required, unless Republicans allowed several stalled nominees to be confirmed. Republicans accused him of destroying the institution of the Senate.
Speaking Monday at the Center for American Progress, Reid said there was a very easy solution to that.
“If they want to stop what’s going on, don’t filibuster,” Reid said.
Reid said he would limit the rule change to presidential nominees, and that 60 votes would still be required to end filibusters on judges or other legislation.
“Whoever is president, they should have the ability to pick their team. I feel really strongly about that,” Reid said.
Republicans were to blame, he said, for the gridlock.
“The power of an extreme minority now threatens the integrity of the Senate,” he said, referring to a small group of Republican Senators who have been particularly aggressive in opposing President Barack Obama’s nominees.
“What they have done is really untoward,” Reid said.
“Traditions are important, but also it’s an evolving institution,” Reid said of the Senate.
“I love the Senate, but right now, the Senate is broken,” Reid went on, saying that the move was necessary to break the gridlock.
The speech Monday morning set the stage for a bipartisan meeting Monday evening on the potential rule change. If a deal is not reached, Reid will begin bringing up the nominees for votes on Tuesday morning.