Reid promises filibuster reform: ‘We’re going to change the rules’

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) confirmed Tuesday that he will move to change rules governing filibusters in the Senate when a new session of Congress opens next month.

Since shortly after the November election, Reid has been signalling he may force a change in the rules. They currently require nearly every piece of legislation to meet a 60-vote threshold and allow senators to block bills simply by indicating they would initiate a filibuster rather than requiring senators to actually continuously hold the floor.

But Reid elevated his rhetoric on Tuesday, indicating that the rules will, without a doubt, change next month.

"We're going to change the rules. We cannot continue in this way," he said.

Senate Democrats have been weighing whether to attempt to change the rules using a mere majority of 51 votes -- rather than subjecting new rules to the higher 60 vote margin.

Republicans have dubbed that idea the "nuclear option" and have vowed the Senate will grind to a halt of Democrats attempt it. They believe the filibuster preserves the rights of the minority and note that Democrats supported it before they gained control of the chamber. (Republicans, back in 2005, were the ones supporting such a change.) 

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