Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has 51 Democratic votes to reform the filibuster, the two leading champions of weakening the minority’s power to obstruct business said Friday.
An aide to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told TPM he believes Reid — who has vowed to move forward using the constitutional option next month if Republicans don’t sign on — has secured the necessary votes.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) concurred, according to The Hill, saying: “The crucial thing for all of you to know is Harry Reid’s got 51 votes to do the Constitutional option at the beginning of the Congress. My sense is if he can’t get agreement on the other side, then he’s going to go forward.”
The two senators are pushing a “talking filibuster” which would change the rules to require filibustering senators to occupy the floor and speak if they want to halt Senate business.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) also said Democrats have 51 votes to make something happen.
Meanwhile, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) are pushing a scaled back reform package they hope will win enough Republican votes to change the filibuster without using the constitutional option.