Yesterday Harry Reid gave Republican senators an ultimatum – they can agree to changes to filibuster rules or else he will invoke the “nuclear option” in thirty six hours.
“I hope in the next 24, 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we’re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done,” Reid told reporters.
Reid’s trump card in negotiations with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is the threat he will change Senate rules with a simple majority vote, a tactic known as the nuclear option. This maneuver would allow Reid to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote, something that has never been done, according to parliamentary experts. (Read More)
The Weekly Standard reminds us that Reid was against this sort of move before he was for it.
Reid has also promised to hold a simple-majority vote on altering the filibuster rules, despite the fact that rule changes generally require a supermajority of 60 votes to pass. To do this, Reid would have to override the Senate parliamentarian. Senate institutionalists in both parties criticize this as the “nuclear option”–breaking the rules to change the rules–and Reid himself objected to a similar threat from then-majority leader Bill Frist, a Republican, in 2005.