A senior Democrat will break with his party and oppose any efforts to change the filibuster rules through a “nuclear” option.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Tuesday that he is opposed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) threat to change Senate rules by a majority vote to prevent filibusters on executive nominations.
“I want to change the rule. But not by fiat,” he said. “Not by breaking a rule which says that it takes two-thirds of the senate to end debate on a rules change.”
Levin said last week that he is opposed to changing the filibuster rules through a majority vote and said that Monday’s night’s Senate meeting in the Old Senate Chamber did not change his mind.
He is one of a few long-serving Democrats who have resisted Reid’s threats to change the Senate filibuster rules, warning that his party has also used the filibuster to its advantage when Democrats were in the minority.
Levin accused the leadership of both parties of flip-flopping on the filibuster from 2006, when Republicans threatened the nuclear option over judicial appointments.
“It’s totally inconsistent with the position that they took six years ago,” Levin said of Republicans, but our position of Democrats is totally inconsistent to the position we took six years ago.”
The Senate Armed Services Chairman, who is retiring at the end of 2014, said that he did support “using the rules” to force the minority to stand up and filibuster.
Asked about the chances of finding a deal to avoid the nuclear option, Levin said that Monday’s closed Senate meeting helped “clear the air.”