By Ramsey Cox
After the Senate voted to change filibuster rules Thursday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called for more reforms.
“This has been escalating for a long period of time and it was time to stop it and that’s what we did this morning,” Harkin said. “Now we need to take it a step farther and change the filibuster rules on legislation.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was prompted to use the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules with a simple majority after Republicans blocked three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court.
The nuclear option — which gets its name from the damage done to bipartisan relationships — allows a simple-majority to change the Senate rules rather than the usual super majority.
Republicans accused Democrats of being shortsighted by “breaking the rules to change the rules.”
“This is a blatant power grab,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said. “This is about the other side not getting everything they want when they want it.”
Harkin said it was a “good day” for the Senate and called for more reforms.
“I predict the sky will not fall ... but I do predict that our government will work better,” Harkin said.
Harkin said he’d support further rule changes that would prevent a single senator from blocking legislation and protect minority rights by allowing for germane amendment votes.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have also proposed that senators only be allowed to filibuster if they’re willing to hold the floor — a talking filibuster.