The Ed Show | January 23, 2013
>>> welcome back to "the ed show." at this hour, there is still no finalized deal between democrats and republicans on filibuster reform in the senate, but new details are coming out. but no matter what happens, it looks like the all important talking filibuster is off the table. senator dick durbin of illinois told reporters today, quote, i would say the talking filibuster at this point does not have 51 votes. on tuesday, majority leader harry reid offered mitch mcconnell a proposal on filibuster reform without the talking filibuster. reid says he has the 51 votes needed to move forward with the constitutional option on his offer, if republicans don't play ball. now republicans in the 112 congress abused the filibuster over and over . in fact, 380 times they did it to obstruct president obama 's agenda, and senate democrats i think are sick of this. senator tom harkin of iowa said on my radio show today without meaningful filibuster reform, it could be a rough second term for president obama .
>> i said to obama one time we were in iowa , the night before the election, he was in iowa , the night before the election, i said to him, i said, look, i want some of your time after the election. he said sure, what about? filibuster. i said you get reelected, if you get reelected and we don't change the filibuster rules in the senate, you might as well take a four-year vacation, because you won't get anything done.
>> senator harkin also told me about the so-called 41 rule that would require 41 republicans to vote in order to maintain a filibuster instead of requiring the majority party to find 60 votes to break one. folks, 60 votes, it isn't going to happen in the senate. not in this political climate. senator reid had included the 41 rule in his proposal, but politico reported late tonight he dropped the rule after talks with mcconnell. now, this is just coming to me right now. my head is about to explode on live television. how many elections, harry, do the democrats have to win? how many mandates from the people have to be sent to washington that we need to move forward on this? why is the minority party running this country? that's my first reaction on this. for more, let's turn to senator bernie sanders of vermont for his reaction. senator, good to have you with us tonight. i've got to ask you, if the talking filibuster isn't in it, if the 41 rule isn't in it, where is the teeth in this filibuster reform that might happen? your thoughts, sir.
>> there won't be much in the way of teeth. what you'll see is some improved efficiencies. the senate will move a little bit faster. but in essence, what tom harkin said is absolutely right. what we have seen is an unparalleled level of obstructionism time after time when we're trying to create jobs, trying to deal with global warming , trying to deal with income inequality. they throw 60 vote, 60 votes, 60 votes. if we don't have the talking filibuster, having 41 votes to maintain the filibuster, then we're simply not going to be able to address the serious problems facing the american people .
>> so does this mean in your opinion that the 113th could be a lot like the 112th if the minority party decides to act like that?
>> it won't be as bad. i think this will be some improvements in the ability to move things along in an expeditious manner. we have two more votes. but at the end of the day , ed, on any serious issue facing working families, facing global warming , we do not have 60 votes. so the will of the american people will not be carried out. this country has enormous problems. and it distresses me every single day that while we may have the majority, over 50 votes we have 55 votes, we still can't do what the american people want us to do.
>> well, i've quoted you often, senator sanders . another quote from tom harkin today on my radio show . he said he's tired of the senate being held hostage by the dead hand of the past. there are just some senators in the democratic caucus that simply don't want to change this rule. and the dead hand of the past was rules set up by previous senate chambers. how frustrating is this going to be? doesn't the country deserve to move forward on legislation? because we all know what the republicans would do if they were in this position.
>> ed, i think you're absolutely right. look, in politics, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. we all know that. but right now, one senator could have a staff member call up the cloakroom and say hey, put a hold on that bill. we're not going to go forward to even debate that legislation unless we get 60 votes. so what ends up happening is not only can't we pass the legislation we want, we can't even have the debate for the american people to understand who is on which side. so to me, yeah, i share harkin's views. i am tired of it. i don't mind losing. sometimes you're not going to get 50 votes. but i am damn tired of seeing us not even being able to go forward on a debate on issues of enormous concern to this country.
>> what is harry reid afraid of, if your opinion? what is it?
>> i can't speak, i really can't speak for reid , and i don't know. i think the bottom line is i suspect that he believes that we do not have the 51 votes that we'll need for the constitutional option . what many of us believe on the first day, and we've extended that, it is still the first day, that we can write new rules. that with 51 votes, we can say that we can have a talking filibuster. if you want to oppose a bill if you want 60 votes, you get on the floor and you keep talking . but when you stop talking, we're going to go to 51 votes and we're going to pass it.
>> senator bernie sanders with us tonight. thank you so much for joining us, senator. i would like to know who those senators are that don't want to go along with it. we'll do that story tomorrow.
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