Reid seeks to limit filibuster in next Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) said Wednesday he will push rules changes to limit Republicans’ ability to filibuster proceedings in the next session of Congress.

To do so, Reid most likely will have to employ a controversial tactic known as the "Constitutional" or nuclear option. Under this scenario, Senate Democrats could change chamber rules by a simple majority vote. 

Otherwise, reforming the chamber’s rules through regular order would require a two-thirds vote of the Senate and need heavy buy-in from Republicans. Democrats will likely control at least 54 seats, and perhaps 55 seats, at the start of the 113th Congress in January.

Reid said he will not end the Senate filibuster, which gives the minority party the ability to block legislation with 41 votes. Instead, he will curb its practice, most likely by shielding motions to proceed to new business from dilatory tactics.

“I think that the rules have been abused and that we’re going to work to change them,” Reid told reporters. “We’re not going to do away with the filibuster but we’re going to make the Senate a more meaningful place. We’re going to make it so that we can get things done.”

Reid said “the American people aren’t interested” in voting on GOP amendments related to abortion and same-sex marriage.

“Look at all the exit polls, look at all the polling, the vast majority of the American people — rich, poor — everybody agrees that the rich, the richest of the rich have to help a little bit,” he said, claiming a mandate from Tuesday’s election to raise tax rates on the nation’s wealthiest families.

Reid reiterated his declaration from Tuesday evening that he is ready to work with Republican leaders to reach a deal to avert the looming expiration of the Bush-era tax rates for middle-income families and automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

“It's better to dance than to fight. It's better to work together,” he said.