Reid: Time To Change The Filibuster

March 10, 2010 8:19 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended himself to progressive reporters, pundits and bloggers today, blaming the Republicans for the sluggish pace of the Senate and calling for filibuster reform.

Reid (D-NV) said no one complained at first about the use of the spitball in baseball, but “the ball got wetter and wetter.” He said the same is true of the filibuster in the Senate, citing the 67 times he had to use the long process of invoking cloture on mostly mundane legislation last year.The senate is “likely going to have to make some changes,” Reid said at the Progressive Media Summit hosted by the Senate Democrats today on Capitol Hill. “Republicans have abused the filibuster,” he said.

Several senators this year have endorsed making a change to filibuster rules, something that would happen when the new Congress is sworn in next January.

Reid said he was criticized for dropping a smaller jobs bill than originally intended, and said because of GOP obstruction “most of our work is going to be hitting singles this year.”

The majority leader said progress on other issues will come with filibuster reform.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced Reid at the event and said Democrats failed at first to hammer the GOP for obstructionism.

“Our biggest mistake was trying to govern. Our errors have been on trying to get things done,” Stabenow said. “We’ve got to be smarter and tougher and we know that.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) added in his remarks that Democrats need to “crystallize” obstruction and showcase incidents like the Bunning blockade to highlight the real effects parliamentary tactics have on voters.

Late Update: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced later at the summit he will be holding hearings on filibuster reform.

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