filibuster reform

3:20 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell: Democrats Will Regret Detonating 'Nuclear Option' in 2014

Credit File photo

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his top aides are warning the detonation of the so-called "nuclear option" will backfire on Senate Democrats after the results of next year's election.

The vote gives the 2014 mid-term elections even higher stakes and puts more attention on Kentucky's Senate race, which could pit McConnell up against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes next fall.

After months of debating the use of the 60-vote cloture maneuver to block President Obama's judicial nominees and other measures, Democratic Leader Harry Reid moved forward with changing the Senate rules.

By a 52-48 vote, it now takes just a simple majority vote to end debate and move ahead with presidential nominations other than Supreme Court justices.

"If you want to play games and set yet another precedent that you'll no doubt come to regret. I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle you'll regret this," said McConnell. "And you may regret it a lot sooner than you think."

Others in McConnell's camp, such as former chief of staff Josh Holmes, who is working on the senator's re-election bid, also derided the nuclear option. But he put the vote in even starker terms if the GOP captures the majority next fall.

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3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

National Democrats Dub Mitch McConnell 'Senator Gridlock' Amid Filibuster Fight

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

National Democrats are calling Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "Senator Gridlock" as the Senate considers altering its filibuster rules.

For most of this week, McConnell has been in a sometimes heated exchange with Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada over blocking President Obama's executive nominees.

Democrats are threatening to use so-called 'nuclear option' to break the gridlock, and McConnell has said that will make Reid the worst Senate leader in history if they do so.

"They’re not interested in checks and balances. They’re not interested in advice and consent. They’re not even interested in what this would mean down the road when Republicans are the ones making the nominations," McConnell said earlier this week. "They want the power. They want it now. And they don’t care about the consequences.

Since 2007, Senate statistics show McConnell has used the filibuster 413 times as minority leader. That is almost twice as much as when Democrats held the minority from 1995 to 2001. Update: Since 2007, the Senate has invoked cloture, which requires 60 votes, 413 times. This is not the same as McConnell using the filibuster. 

Democratic Senator Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky says McConnell has led an unprecedented tenure of blocking Senate procedures.

"Mitch McConnell should change his name to Senator Gridlock because he’s the walking, talking embodiment of everything that’s wrong with Washington. And he’s the number one reason for record-breaking levels of obstruction and dysfunction," he says. "Senator McConnell has not only made things worse, but he’s actually embraced his role as the number one problem."

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2:44 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

McConnell Campaign Taunts Liberals Over Filibuster Reform

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

In a message to supporters, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign is bragging after modest filibuster reforms were enacted in the U.S. Senate.

Several progressive groups along with liberal Democrats in the Senate had been pushing Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., to go with the "nuclear option" to overhaul the chamber's rules.

But Reid went for much weaker reforms, and the deal negotiated with McConnell speeds up the parliamentary process for new business, motion and debates.

The McConnell camp says that the GOP leader "beat the liberals" who were pushing for more drastic changes.

From Team Mitch:

A group of the Senate's most liberal Senators, fueled by left-wing groups like Move On, have been pushing a dangerous scheme to change the rules of the United States Senate and fundamentally alter the checks and balances of our system.

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8:30 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Senator Joe Donnelly Wants Consensus on Filibuster Reform

Joe Donnelly
Credit U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., says even though the filibuster has been abused in recent years, his party should seek a consensus with Republicans before changing the chamber's rules.

Critics have complained that the filibuster is too often used to block important votes. Since 2007, the GOP has used the parliamentary tactic to block legislation and nominees an unprecedented 386 times.

In the last weeks of 2012, Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell jousted over whether to restrict filibusters.

Donnelly says the negotiations to address the dysfunction should continue, and that Reid should find a general agreement with the GOP.

"He will be talking with our Republican friends over the next week or two to try to see if there is a consensus that can form, and I am hopeful that can happen," he says.

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3:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fix the Senate Now Blasts Mitch McConnell's Self-Filibuster

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

A coalition of labor and environmental groups are targeting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's self-filibuster, saying it underscores the need for reforms.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell challenged Senate Democrats to support his proposal to give President Obama the power to raise the U.S. debt limit unilaterally.

Mr. Obama is asking for the power as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But when Democratic Leader Harry Reid proposed passing the measure by a simple 51-vote majority, McConnell quickly objected.

Instead, he argued, such a controversial decision required a filibuster proof 60 vote majority.

"Mitch McConnell has been the chief opponent of fixing the Senate and reforming the filibuster. And this is a prime example of why the filibuster needs to be fixed," says Melinda Pierce, a spokeswoman for Sierra Club, which is a member of the Fix the Senate Now coalition.

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11:23 am
Wed November 28, 2012

McConnell Battles Against Filibuster Reform

Credit File photo

For the third straight day Republican Leader Mitch McConnell defended his parties use of the filibuster while criticizing Democrat's push for an overhaul in Senate rules.

The filibuster is held by many as a Senate tradition that allows the minority party to hold up legislation, but Democrats argue that the GOP has abused the tool. The reforms are rather simple, but McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid have been jousting over the issue this week while the Democratic caucus is threatening to use the "nuclear option" that would allow a simple 51-vote majority to change the Senate rules.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, McConnell says he is willing to negotiate rule changes with Reid to reach an agreement. But in an editorial, the GOP leaders ratchets up his criticism that Democrats are threatening a tool that has been a safeguard for the political minority.

From U.S. News & World Report:

The majority leader was once a staunch defender of the Senate's protection of minority rights. Yet now that he finds himself frustrated he's prepared to recklessly throw those rules away and his own solemn pledge to defend them.

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12:06 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Observers Displeased with Joint McConnell, Reid 60 Minutes Interview

In a joint interview with Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell that CBS News described as "exasperating," 60 Minutes took on the gridlock in the U.S. Senate.

The piece noted that the Senate was once the chamber of Congress where deals were made, but that in recent years the ability to find common ground has been lost.

Reid said that compromise is not something the Senate does anyone, highlighting McConnell’s comment after the 2010 mid-terms, where he said that the chief GOP goal was to limit President Obama to one-term.

McConnell added that the Senate has met the president halfway on a number of bills , but acknowledged the difficulty in forging bipartisan measures.

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