Reid dismisses Harkin's bid to change filibuster rules

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) swatted down colleagues' efforts to lower the threshold it takes to end a filibuster.

Reid said that while he was familiar with Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) efforts to reform the Senate filibuster rules, he signaled that such a rule change would be unlikely.

"I love Tom Harkin. I'm totally familiar with his idea," Reid said during a news conference on the Capitol on Thursday. "It takes 67 votes, and that, kind of, answers the question."

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Harkin, along with other senators and a number of liberals in the House, have expressed frustration at the current filibuster rules, which require 60 votes to end debate on most matters before the Senate. They introduced a measure to change the rules on Thursday.

The use of the filibuster has been extended, though, to essentially require the supermajority vote for most provisions, which has led to demands for reform.

Unlike the House, though, which requires the adoption of new rules at the beginning of each term, Senate rules provide that their rules be used continuously unless changed as prescribed -- which requires a 67-vote majority.

Republicans hold 41 votes in the Senate and are unlikely to allow a change to those rules that would diminish their rights as a minority.

While Senate Democrats had 60 votes for several months, they were unable together on several important issues, like healthcare and climate change legislation.

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