Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said at a summit for progressive reporters, pundits and bloggers today that he is going to hold Rules Committee hearings on filibuster reform to dramatically change the process.
At the gathering where other Democrats said they will highlight Republican obstruction, Schumer announced he will examine the legal way to “undo, modify or lessen the filibuster rule.”
The remarks came after Democratic leaders complained the Republicans have slowed down the Senate’s work and Majority Leader Harry Reid called for reform.“You can’t just rush it out, you have to study it carefully,” Schumer said. The change can be done in January when the next congress is sworn in.
“This is something we are very serious about,” Schumer said. He said he thinks that it can be done.
Schumer said the hearings would examine filibuster history, constitutional arguments and proposals for reform put forth by Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Tom Udall.
He said a “majority” of Democrats want to see a change but it isn’t unanimous in the caucus.
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) chimed in that GOP “abuse of the process is forcing the majority party to consider what “would be a very big change.”
Schumer also said the Democrats will force Republicans to stay on Capitol Hill nights and weekends if they keep obstructing.
He also said Republicans are “on the run” when leadership focuses on jobs and the economy, so that’s the Democrats’ plan. He said the party will drop bills with new jobs programs every few weeks until the midterm elections.
Schumer said the Democrats are feeling better about their political chances now and come November “we’re going to surprise people.”