“A Democratic Senate Might Need to Curtail Filibuster, Harry Reid Says”


Senator Harry Reid says Democrats should move to curtail the filibuster if they win the White House and Senate in November only to run up against persistent use of the tactic by Republicans.

“Unless after this election there is a dramatic change to go back to the way it used to be, the Senate will have to evolve as it has in the past,” Mr. Reid told me, referring to a former tradition of rarely mounting filibusters. “But it will evolve with a majority vote determining stuff. It is going to happen.”

He has condemned Republican reliance on the filibuster to impede President Obama. Mr. Reid’s frustration ultimately led Senate Democrats in 2013 to weaken the minority party’s ability to block most executive branch nominations. But he won’t be in office to challenge the filibuster. He isretiring.

However, he is the first to publicly express what other lawmakers and aides have talked about more quietly: the possibility that Democrats will take drastic action if they are triumphant at the polls only to be blocked by the gridlock that has plagued Washington in a new Clinton administration….

Supreme Court nominations present their own challenges. Some Democrats in the Senate, particularly women, have been very reluctant to lose the ability to use the filibuster to block a nominee seen as a major threat to abortion rights. That was one reason nominations to the court were not included in the 2013 changes. But should Republicans decide to block a Supreme Court nominee early in a Clinton administration after refusing this year to take up the nomination of Merrick B. Garland, Democrats could be spurred to take extraordinary action.

Mr. Reid said he hoped things didn’t reach that point and encouraged Republicans, should Democrats prevail, to be more open to a working partnership.


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