Senate leaders in both parties are brokering a deal to avert the so-called nuclear option Senate majority leader Harry Reid has threatened with regard to changing the body's filibuster rules. A Senate Republican aide confirms that the negotiated proposal between Reid and the GOP is well under way but will not include the requirement of a "talking filibuster"--a top priority of Oregon senator Jeff Merkley, a leader of the filibuster reform movement within the Senate.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid reiterated on Tuesday his plan to reform the rules of the Senate to weaken the filibuster and strengthen the majority party's power to move legislative debate forward. The Huffington Post reports:
House Republicans earlier today proposed a plan to raise the debt ceiling for only enough time (three months) to allow for Senate Democrats to produce a budget. The reason Democrats, who run the Senate, need to be prodded to propose a budget is simple: The Senate has not passed a budget in 1,360 days.
The last time the Senate passed a budget was April 29, 2009.
In that time, the debt has increased by $5.3 trillion. The amount spent by the federal government in that time is likewise enormous: $13.0 trillion.
Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson, who pled guilty last week to charges of bank fraud and money laundering, is claiming he made a deal in 2010 to pay Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada $600,000 to stop a federal investigation into Johnson's business. Johnson says his alleged deal with Reid was brokered by John Swallow, a Republican who was sworn in as Utah's attorney general on January 7, and a fellow businessman from Utah, Richard Rawle.
Harry Reid, on the Senate floor, said that he just spoke with President Barack Obama, but that they do not have a "counteroffer to make" to Republicans:
"We did have conversations last night that ended late in the evening between staffs, this morning we've been trying to come up with some counteroffer to my friends' proposals," said Reid, saying he's had a number" of conversations with the president. "I don't have a counteroffer to make."
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, made his "fiscal cliff" position clear in a press conference today. "We are not going to do anything," said Reid.
Reid added, "We are not taking up anything they are working on over there."
The top Democrat in the Senate was explaining his inaction on the House plan, the proposal put forward by Republican John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives. Boehner's plan is being referred to as 'Plan B.'
Senate Democrats are questioning a statement made by former Republican senator Chuck Hagel that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington. The comment has resurfaced now that Hagel is rumored to be Barack Obama’s top choice to head the Pentagon. He used the term in a 2008 interview.
For years, liberal pundits and Senate Democrats have talked about altering the filibuster, the procedural rule that requires a 60-vote supermajority to end debate in the U.S. Senate. The device has been a burden for majority leaders for generations, and it dogged Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama during the liberal bonanza that was the 111th Congress of 2009-2010.