So here’s what is likely to happen, according to a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide. Dems will likely pass reforms that include ending the filibuster on the motion to proceed and on on motions to move to conference; and forcing “talking filibusters,” which would require a much more public role for filibustering.
Dems may not change the rules on the first day of the session. Rather, the aide says, they are likely to do a rules change, almost certainly in January, via what’s known as overruling the chair. Democrats ask the chair for a ruling on whether it is within the rules to, say, filibuster the motion to proceed. When the chair says Yes, Dems overrule it by a simple majority vote. And so on with the other provisions.
It will be very hard to determine whether these reforms will be effective without seeing their final language. But in the end, the minority will still be able to filibuster on the move to end debate — which is to say the Senate will remain a supermajority institution. Will the reforms discourage filibustering? That we’ll have to find out.
It’s still possible that the simple majority rules change may not come to pass — if Republicans agree to a compromise package of filibuster reforms. But aides say that as of now, no negotiating is taking place.
Either way, what happened today is that Reid, in effect, put his finger on the nuke button. It’s hard to see how he pulls back now.
Republicans are almost certainly going to try to cut a deal now. We'll see what happens, but it's clear at this point Reid has the 51 votes to go ahead in January if the GOP won't play ball. My money's on Reid having to go that route, because any deal the GOP makes will almost certainly involve something stupid.
But Honey Badger don't give a you know what.