Swan Song for the Filibuster?

| Wed Mar. 10, 2010 3:00 PM EST

Harry Reid on the filibuster:

The filibuster has been abused. I believe that the Senate should be different than the House and will continue to be different than the House. But we're going to take a look at the filibuster. Next Congress, we're going to take a look at it.

Sam Stein explains:

Reid's embrace of filibuster reform comes after he previously threw cold water on the likelihood of getting the rules changed. His reference to the "next Congress" stands out. To change Senate rules in the middle of the session requires 67 votes, which Democrats clearly don't have. But changing the rules at the beginning of the 112th Congress will require the chair to declare the Senate is in a new session and can legally draft new rules. That ruling would be made by Vice President Joe Biden, who has spoken out against the current abuse of the filibuster. The ruling can be appealed, but that appeal can be defeated with a simple majority vote.

Of course, setting this precedent means that Republicans can change the filibuster rules too, the next time they have both a Senate majority and a president in the White House. Are 51 Dems willing to take that chance? Does Harry Reid have the stones to find out? Is Barack Obama fed up enough that he'll give Joe Biden the go-ahead? Tune in next January!

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