Beltway Confidential

Harry Reid's 'nuclear option,' then and now

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Beltway Confidential,Senate,Harry Reid,Ashe Schow,Nuclear Option

Now that the Senate has agreed to Majority Leader Harry Reid's “nuclear option” rule change, ending filibusters of judicial nominations by allowing 51 Senators to confirm judges, it's a good time to look at how his position has evolved since the Nevada Democrat was in the minority and leading filibusters of his own in 2005:

Harry Reid then: “My Republican colleagues claim that nominees are entitled to an up-down vote. That claim ignores history, including recent history.” (floor speech, April 26, 2005)

Harry Reid now: “These nominees deserve at least an up-or-down vote. But Republican filibusters deny them a fair vote and deny the president his team.”

Harry Reid then: “Some in this chamber want to throw out 214 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power … They think they’re wiser than our founding fathers. I doubt that that’s true.” (floor speech, May 18, 2005)

Harry Reid now: "This is not about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about making Washington work – regardless of who’s in the White House or who controls the Senate. To remain relevant and effective as an institution, the Senate must evolve to meet the challenges of a modern era.”

Harry Reid, later: The nuclear option, “simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate.” (from the book The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington, 2008)

Harry Reid now: “It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”

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