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White House: President Obama supports filibuster reform

Joan McCarter Daily Kos Permalink

President Barack Obama talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) backstage before his town hall meeting at Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nev., Feb. 19, 2010.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)..This official White House photo

He doesn't have a vote in the Senate anymore, but he has a critical interest in how the legislative process works. Or in the case of recent years, doesn't. So President Obama is backing the filibuster reform plan from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"The President has said many times that the American people are demanding action," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "They want to see progress, not partisan delay games. That hasn't changed, and the President supports Senator Reid's efforts to reform the filibuster process."

"Over the past few years important pieces of legislation like the DREAM Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the American Jobs Act weren't even allowed to be debated, and judicial nominations and key members of the administration are routinely forced to wait months for an up-or-down vote," Pfeiffer added. "The American people deserve a United States Senate that puts them first, instead of partisan delay."

Reid's proposed reforms would prevent filibustering votes to move forward to the debate and amendment part of legislating, but would preserve it for final passage of a bill. His proposal would also require filibustering senators to actually filibuster, to stand up and talk at length about their opposition. Additionally, he'd end the filibuster on motions to move to conference, meaning the minority wouldn't be able to prevent legisiation from going to a House-Senate conference. A Senate Democratic leadership aide told Greg Sargent that Reid would likely enact these reforms at the beginning of the next session by overruling the chair, "Democrats ask the chair for a ruling on whether it is within the rules to, say, filibuster the motion to proceed. When the chair says Yes, Dems overrule it by a simple majority vote. And so on with the other provisions."

Reid doesn't need the blessing of the president to move forward with his reforms, but it sure won't hurt to have it if he needs some additional leverage to get most of the members of his caucus on board.

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