In 1995, with my party in the minority, I stood up and said we needed to get rid of the filibuster. Finally — 18 years later — we have a crack in the wall.
I am so happy that 51 other senators joined me to support this critical rule change. Abuse of the filibuster has gotten so extreme that the Senate was virtually unable to do anything — even fulfill its constitutional duty to advise and consent on the president’s appointments.
This change was long overdue, and I want to express my thanks to Majority Leader Harry Reid for his leadership in getting us across the line. This would not have happened without him.
You see, there is a dirty little secret in the U.S. Senate — that a senator has power not because of what they can do, but because of what they can stop. And like all people with power, many senators have been reluctant to give that power up.
While the filibuster remains for legislation and appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, this change will dramatically improve the Senate’s ability to give presidential appointees a timely confirmation — and maybe even more importantly, show that the sky doesn’t fall when the senators give up a little bit of their power for the good of the country.
Harry Reid’s leadership made that possible. He deserves our thanks — and our encouragement to keep up the good work.
Elections should have consequences. The filibuster has increasingly stood in the way, but that’s really what the American experiment is all about.
That’s why I spoke up in 1995, and why I’ve continued to advocate for filibuster reform every day since.
We’ve taken a major step forward. Thank you for standing with me in that effort.