White House signals support for Reid filibuster rule change

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A motion to proceed is how the Senate moves some bills to the floor for debate. It is usually initiated by the majority leader and precedes the actual vote to pass a bill.

In a floor speech on Monday, Reid cast the rule change as a minor tweak that would increase efficiency.

“The Senate is broken, and the only ones that disagree are Republicans and Mitch McConnell,” Reid said. “These plaintive cries that we’re getting rid of the filibuster are lies.

“I and no one on the Democratic side has proposed getting rid of the filibuster,” Reid continued, “just that we do away with the filibuster on the motion to proceed.”

That sentiment was echoed by Pfeiffer, who said that the "American people deserve a United States Senate that puts them first, instead of partisan delay."

"Over the past few years important pieces of legislation like the DREAM Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the American Jobs Act weren't even allowed to be debated, and judicial nominations and key members of the administration are routinely forced to wait months for an up-or-down vote," Pfeiffer said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has criticized the proposal, saying it "would undermine the very purpose of the Senate as the one place in our system where minority views and opinions have always been respected and heard and, in most cases, incorporated into law.”

"What these Democrats have in mind is a fundamental change to the way the Senate operates for the purpose of consolidating their own power and further marginalizing the minority voices that the Senate was built to protect,” McConnell added in a floor speech on Tuesday.

Pfeiffer did not comment, however, on whether the president would support the use of the "constitutional option," by which a rule could be changed with a simple majority vote at the beginning of the new Congress. Otherwise, Reid would need 67 votes — a two-thirds majority — to change the rules of the upper chamber.