Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn’t have any regrets about eliminating the Senate’s filibuster because it allowed Democrats to pass key bills including the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank bill, and to confirm members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
“Obama had been elected president, and they (the Republicans) set out to do two things,” the Nevada Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday. “Number one, he would not be reelected. And number two, anything Obama tried to do, they opposed.”
Under Reid, Democrats voted for the “nuclear option” in 2013, which eliminated the filibuster for executive branch and judicial nominees. Four years later, Republicans under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell extended the policy to Supreme Court nominees so Justice Neil Gorsuch could be concerned.
However, now that senators will be voting to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ending the filibuster has come under scrutiny, as Republicans are expected to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee with either 51 or 52 votes. That could not happen if they were still required to meet a 60-vote threshold for ending a filibuster.
Reid said Senate Republicans had filibustered an Obama judicial nominee and briefly filibustered former Sen. Chuck Hagel as his pick for Defense secretary.
“Obama was in a position where he was trapped,” said Reid. “We changed the rules to say this isn’t going to happen anymore. As a result of that, we were able to get all of his Cabinet officers filed, sub-Cabinet officers filled, D.C. Circuit [Court] — we got that taken care of.”