“We had to take action, drastic action, to respond to the American people looking at Congress as they do,” he said in an interview with WAMU’s “The Diane Rehm Show.”
When Rehm asked if the filibuster change would make “bipartisanship” and “comity” in the Senate even more difficult, as numerous Republicans have warned, the Democratic leader laughed out loud.
“I’m sorry to — smile — as you can’t see on radio,” he said. “More disfunction? I mean, gee whiz. When you have constitutionally necessary posts like judges who they refuse to put in office?”
He invoked the GOP’s mass filibuster of three nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was the final straw before Democrats triggered the “nuclear option,” to argue that “it is just awful what they’ve done.”
“So I had no choice,” he said.
The final vote was 52-48. Reid mentioned that three Democrats voted not to change the rules — Sens. Carl Levin (MI), Joe Manchin (WV) and Mark Pryor (AR). “But frankly, if I needed a couple of those, I could’ve gotten those too,” he said.
Responding to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) charge that the rule change was “a Democratic power grab,” Reid posited that “if he were in my position, he would’ve done the same thing.”