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Leaders Spar in Senate

In an unusually tense and extended exchange on the Senate Floor this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sparred over the procedures of their Chamber, the ground on which all other Senate debates are played out.

Comments by Senator Reid to MSNBC promising change to Senate filibuster rules if Democrats remain in control after the election were an immediate spark to this simmering debate.  He stood by those statements on the Floor, declaring, “I think what has happened the last few years of changing the basic rules of the Senate where we require not 50 votes to pass something but 60 votes on everything is wrong. I think we waste weeks and weeks on motions to proceed.”

Senator McConnell objected, “…all this talk about rules change is just an effort to try to find somebody else to blame for the fact that the Senate has been ruled essentially dysfunctional by 62 efforts by my good friend the Majority Leader to… in effect, deny Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, the opportunity to offer any amendments he doesn’t select. That is the reason we are having this problem. So it doesn’t require a rules change, it requires an attitude change.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations