Report: So Far, Democrats Short of the Votes Needed to Alter Filibuster Rules – 11/13/12

So far, Democrats in the U.S. Senate appear to be short of the votes they need to use the “Nuclear” option, and change the Senate rules to do away with the 60-vote rule required to break a filibuster. They will have reinforcements coming in the new Congress – newly elected Democratic Senators who have pledged to vote for the rules change. But some more long-tenured Democrats are apparently hesitant, because they remember using the filibuster frequently when they were in the minority:

THE HILL: Democrats don’t have the 51 votes they need in the Senate to change filibuster rules that could make it harder for the GOP minority to wield power in the upper chamber.

Lawmakers leading the charge acknowledge they remain short, but express optimism they’ll hit their goal.

“I haven’t counted 51 just yet, but we’re working,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a leading proponent of the so-called constitutional or “nuclear” option, in which Senate rules could be changed by a majority vote. . . . The problem for Udall and other supporters of filibuster reform is that many veteran Democratic senators remember when the filibuster was a useful tool in their years in the minority.

In the tradition-bound Senate, these veterans aren’t thrilled with changing the upper chamber’s rules, particularly with the use of the controversial constitutional option — which has never been used to change the chamber’s rules. . . . Read More

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