Harry Reid praises Rand Paul, hits GOP’s silent filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in remarks on the Senate floor this morning, praised Sen. Rand Paul's use of the talking filibuster to assert his concerns about CIA director nominee John O. Brennan, but criticized Republicans for using silent filibusters to hold up other nominations.

"One thing I learned from my own experience with talking filibusters: to succeed, you need strong convictions but also a strong bladder. Senator Paul has both," Reid said of Paul's marathon effort on Wednesday.

Reid held up Paul (R-Ky.) as an example of the right way to obstruct, and then attacked  the GOP's silent filibuster against Caitlin Halligan's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Washington, D.C., district.

"This can be a Senate where ideas are debated in full public view – and obstruction happens in full public view as well," Reid said. "Or it can be a Senate where a small minority obstructs from behind closed doors, without ever coming to the Senate floor."

Filibusters these days are almost exclusively of the silent variety, with the last talking filibuster having occurred in 2010.

Some Democrats earlier this year attempted to change the Senate rules to force filibustering senators to actually speak on the Senate floor. But the effort eventually fell apart with minimal changes to the filibuster rules.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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