Reid: Stop filibustering or we’ll change the rules

Calling it a "minor change," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made clear Monday morning that he was not backing off plans to reform the use of the filibuster unless Republicans confirm several blocked nominees.

"I love the Senate, but right now the Senate is broken and needs to be fixed," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress. "It's time for course correction." 

Reid plans to use a party-line vote to change the Senate’s rules so that executive branch nominees can be confirmed by a simple majority. Senate rules have been changed by a majority vote 18 times in the past 36 years, Reid said, and his current proposal was no more drastic.

To Republicans who say that Reid would blow up the institution should he move forward, the leader said they could prevent a confrontation by giving in.

"Stop the filibuster or we're going to have to change the rule," he said.

Reid protested mightily when Republicans attempted to do away with the use of the filibuster in judicial nominees under President Bush. But he has argued that executive branch nominees are different.

Senators are meeting tonight in the Old Senate Chamber to attempt a resolution. There are seven nominees under dispute.

While Reid emphasized that his rule change was strictly limited to executive branch nominees, he called filibuster-fueled gridlock in Congress the reason why lawmakers are "extremely unpopular."

"Flip on C-SPAN and what do you see? Nothing," he said.

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Aaron Blake | July 15, 2013