Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed (D-NV) may have finally gotten his fill of Republican obstructionism. In his soft-spoken way, he might even be described as absolutely furious over the refusal of Senate Republicans to pass a completely non-controversial reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank on the grounds that they wanted time to offer amendments.
“The bill that the House passed reflects a negotiated agreement that was struck between Democratic and Republican leaders,” Reid stated in a speech on Thursday evening. “They worked hard to come up with an agreement. As one would expect with an agreement of that nature, the House passed it with a very strong vote. The vote was 330 to 93. … Only the far right Tea Party wing of the House Republican conference voted against the bill.”
“It’s so unusual here,” Reid continued. “I have been here in Congress thirty years, but this is a new one. Even bills that they agree on, they want to mess around with. In years past, this would have gone through here just like this [snapping his fingers]. … The House passed something 330 to 93, and we’re here playing around with it? It should be done. We should have passed it yesterday. This thing is going to expire.”
“It’s hard to comprehend what the new mantra of the Republicans in the Senate, what it is,” he added. “I don’t get it.”
Reid pointed out that the Export-Import Bank is about to hits its lending limit and in any case has to be reauthorized by the end of May — but if the bill is amended in the Senate it will have to go back to the House, which is barely in session all this month. He also stated that he had glanced at the proposed amendments and that several of them seemed designed to gut or even eliminate the program.
Reid expressed regret that he had not supported a proposed change to the filibuster rule in January 2011, but had instead entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to keep it intact.
“This is just absolutely mindless, what’s going on,” he concluded.
As the Huffington Post notes, it would take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to change the filibuster rule now. If Reid is serious, however, his best opportunity may come next January, since at the start of each new session of Congress it is possible to alter rules with a simple majority vote.
This video from CSPAN-2 was uploaded to YouTube by HuffPostPolitics on May 10, 2012.