HarryReid

Sen. Harry Reid: Founding Fathers didn’t want filibusters

by Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times  |  published on July 16, 2013


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the men who wrote the Constitution intended for the president’s nominees to be subject to only a majority vote, and said filibusters of nominees were never envisioned.

The Senate’s leading Democrat, who led repeated filibusters of President George W. Bush’s nominations when Republicans held the majority, said he’s changed his mind since then, and he accused the GOP of forcing his hand by slow-walking so many of President Obama’s nominees.

Mr. Reid, of Nevada, said the Constitution only requires supermajority votes for specific circumstances: treaties, impeachments, constitutional amendments and overrides of presidential vetoes. He said everything else should be subject to a majority vote.

“In the same paragraph where the Founding Fathers talked about a supermajority, they mentioned presidential nominations — majority,” Mr. Reid said at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “The Founding Fathers wanted an up-or-down vote, and that’s basically what we’ve been crying for now for years.”

Filibusters don’t appear in the Constitution, but rather are a term applied to the Senate tradition of extended debate. Until 1917, there was no way to end any debates. But that year, the Senate changed its rules to establish a supermajority to cut off debate.

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