Reid has threatened to use the so-called “constitutional option,” also known as the “nuclear option,” to change Senate rules next year. He is not pushing to end the filibuster completely, instead seeking limits on how and when it can be used.
President Obama backed Reid’s call for filibuster reform on Wednesday, but the idea faces strong resistance from Republicans and even some Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has warned that a majority vote to change Senate rules would poison the well for negotiations on the deficit.
A group of junior Democratic senators has sponsored legislation to end the filibuster on the motion to proceed and to instate a talking filibuster, which would require senators to remain constantly on the floor while filibustering.
“Fix the Senate Now” has endorsed both plans, along with limiting debate on nominations.
While most incoming Democratic senators have signed on to rules reform, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) — who has spearheaded reform efforts — said earlier this month he didn’t yet have the votes needed to change the rules next year.