A couple of months ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a traditionalist who's resisted changes to the way the chamber operates, raised some eyebrows when he voiced support for systemic institutional changes. In early June, he was even more forceful on the subject, saying he was "wrong" to resist reforms last year.
Suzy Khimm noted this morning that Reid isn't backing away from this. The Majority Leader told MSNBC's Ed Schultz, "They're filibustering until we have to change the rules. We can't go on like this anymore. I don't want to get rid of the filibuster, but I have to tell you, I want to change the rules and make the filibuster meaningful." It led to this exchange:
SCHULTZ: Would you make that as a commitment if Barack Obama were reelected and the Democrats keep the Senate?
REID: Yes. I don't know how many people watch C-Span on any given day, but I've said so right before everybody there, that's what I would do.
For those of us who believe the Senate is broken and dysfunctional, and that institutional reforms are absolutely critical, this is certainly encouraging.
We don't yet know, however, exactly what kind of reforms Reid has in mind, and the details obviously matter. What's more, if Republicans maintain a majority in the House, reforms might only affect nominations, not bills.
But the more leading officials realize the Senate wasn't designed to work this way, it didn't used to work this way, and it can't work this way, the better.