Reid defends Senate rule change

In an op-ed published Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) defended his unilateral change to the Senate's rules.

In the Washington Post piece, Reid says his decision last Thursday to change the Senate rules — informally referred to as the "nuclear option" — to stop Republicans from requiring votes on amendments once the Senate has voted to move the legislation to final passage has restored order to the chamber.

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"The Senate rule change we made last week has been inaccurately described, including by Marc A. Thiessen on this page, as a resort to the ‘nuclear option.’ But rather than a nuclear option that would have forever altered the character of the Senate by limiting the minority’s ability to challenge legislation, the change we made Thursday was a return to order," Reid writes.

Reid argues that Senate rules "honor the rights of the minority party" and allow each senator to influence legislation.

"But in recent years, the minority party has abused its right to debate and delay, and has upset the balance between minority rights and cooperation on which a productive Senate depends," Reid continues in the op-ed.

Reid adds that the rule change fixes an imbalance in the Senate.

"Now, 60 votes to end debate will mean debate actually ends, as the rules of the Senate intended. We restored the balance between individual rights and comity in the rules of the Senate," Reid argues. "But this change goes only so far. For the good of our economy and our country, I hope Republicans will work with us to restore that balance in our larger political debate in the interest of finding practical, bipartisan solutions to put Americans back to work."

Republicans have indicated that, in response to the rule change, they will be more hesitant to let the Senate go about its usual business without unanimous consent.