Filibuster Rules in Peril

All hands on deck.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is preparing to use the “nuclear option” to limit the Senate’s filibuster rules, according to the Washington Post.  Big labor is demanding such a change which would destroy the rights of the minority and allow Reid to foist Big Labor’s agenda on the American people with a straight majority vote:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is increasingly focused on the month of July as the time to exercise the so-called “nuclear option” and revisit filibuster reform, and he has privately told top advisers that he’s all but certain to take action if the Senate GOP blocks three upcoming key nominations, a senior Senate Democratic aide familiar with his thinking tells me.

Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says, adding that senior Democrats expect the President to publicly push for it as well. “If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,” the aide says.

Reid is eyeing a change to the rules that would do away with the 60-vote threshold on all judicial and executive branch nominations, the aide says, on the theory that this is a good way to immediately break an important logjam in Washington — without changing the rules when it comes to legislation.

“This would take away the right to filibuster on nominations,” the aide says. “All executive branch and judicial nominations would be subject to majority votes. He would not do it on legislative items.”

The aide — who cautioned that this isn’t a fait accompli by any means — shared a number of other insights on Reid’s thinking about the need to revisit Senate rules.

If Republicans block those three nominees, the aide tells me, “then our position will be very easy.”

Reid recently told a group of major donors that he believes he made a mistake in agreeing to watered down filibuster reform earlier this year, the aide says. But Reid doesn’t regret this, because he still believes he did not have the votes to pass more ambitious reform via a simple majority vote, due to continued reluctance among “old bull” type Democrats in the Senate to exercise the nuclear option.

However, Reid has held conversations with some of the veteran Democratic Senators and has sensed a thawing in their opposition to the nuke option, the aide says, because patience with GOP obstruction of nominees has worn thin. “They realize there is a significant problem,” the aide says.