I'm sure Harry Reid is frustrated that he can't get Republicans to sign on to his and President Obama's liberal agenda. But I think he's probably even more frustrated that he can't even get all the members of his own party to sign on to it. The answer, in Reid's mind, is to reform the system:
“If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight,” Reid said on the floor. “These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame.”
Reid added: “If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rules, because it’s been abused, abused, abused.”
Reid’s comments came after he tried to quickly pass a House-passed bill aimed at reauthorizing the Export-Import bank. Republicans objected, asking for votes on five of their amendments. Reid filed a cloture motion, setting up a test vote for Monday evening to begin debate on the measure.
It takes 60 votes — and time-consuming cloture motions — to overcome a filibuster, a tool that has been employed with growing frequency by both parties over the years.
Of course, changing the filibuster rules would be enormously difficult to accomplish, given that it takes two-thirds of senators to do so.
Udall and Merkley were calling for the rules to be changed through a circuitous process by 51 votes, a move they called the “constitutional option” but that critics dubbed the “nuclear option.”