GOP senators were outraged at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for invoking the “nuclear option” last year, calling his push to weaken the filibuster on presidential nominees a destructive and heavy-handed move with far-reaching consequences.
But now that Republicans are about to take control of the Senate, they seem unlikely to reverse it.
As they begin to plan their opening steps in the new majority, a growing number of Republican senators are expressing deep reservations about changing Senate rules back to the old system in which 60 votes were needed to overcome filibusters on presidential nominees. Instead, a number of senior
GOP senators like Orrin Hatch of Utah and even junior Republicans like Ted Cruz of Texas are signaling privately and publicly that they want to stay at the 50-vote threshold set by Reid’s Democratic Senate majority.
Reid’s move always did seem a bit shortsighted, as it appeared for quite some time that the Republicans had a realistic chance of taking over the Senate. He must have known that he might soon be laboring under the same rule. Perhaps he knows that he won’t be around long enough to really be bothered by it, which is one optimistic way of looking at it. Reid has barely scraped by in recent elections, aided mostly by a combination of help from Big Labor and weak Republican challengers. In 2016, there is a very real possibility that he will face hugely popular Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, and Big Labor may not be enough to save him then.