July 16, 2013

Sen. Reid says filibuster showdown may be averted

The agreement would not resolve deep partisan divisions over the future use of filibusters to block a president's executive nominees, said officials on both sides.

By Charles Babington / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Reid said Lyndon B. Johnson faced one filibuster during his six years as Senate majority leader. In the same length of time as majority leader, Reid said he has faced 413 threatened filibusters. The tactic, he said, blocks action on routine matters that Congress once handled fairly easily.

Democrats acknowledged that Republicans will turn any such rules change to their advantage if they regain the Senate majority, which the two parties have often swapped in recent decades.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the Senate "needs to confirm this president's nominees in a timely and efficient manner." That will be true, he said, "for the next president, and the next president after that. This has become ridiculous."

Senate Republicans particularly objected to two union-backed members of the National Labor Relations Board, Griffin and Block.

Republicans also had opposed Cordray, Obama's pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created in a Wall Street oversight revision that Republicans opposed.

Asked Monday if Obama worries that a filibuster rule change would make the Senate even more dysfunctional, Carney said, "Well, it boggles the mind how they would achieve that."

This notion that things can't get much worse in the often stalemated Senate seems to have convinced numerous senators and interest groups in recent months that there is little risk in changing traditions to end at least some of the logjams.

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