Reid: I Didn’t Go Nuclear

In today’s Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) responds to charges that last week’s majority vote to change Senate rules and overturn a ruling by the chair constituted going “nuclear.”

The Senate rule change we made last week has been inaccurately described . . . as a resort to the “nuclear option.” But rather than a nuclear option that would have forever altered the character of the Senate by limiting the minority’s ability to challenge legislation, the change we made Thursday was a return to order. . . .

The Republicans used a new stall tactic last week, one that is used infrequently in the history of the Senate. It was an attempt to make cloture meaningless — to say that the road to passage must include a vote-a-rama of unrelated, purely political votes.

This is the practice we voted to change. The precedent we set merely returns the Senate to the regular order and only affects the ability of the minority to obstruct and delay after more than 60 senators have voted to end discussion.

Now, 60 votes to end debate will mean debate actually ends, as the rules of the Senate intended. We restored the balance between individual rights and comity in the rules of the Senate.

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