Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the men who wrote the Constitution intended for the presidentâ€™s nominees to be subject to only a majority vote, and said filibusters of nominees were never envisioned.
The Senateâ€™s leading Democrat, who led repeated filibusters of President George W. Bushâ€™s nominations when Republicans held the majority, said heâ€™s changed his mind since then, and he accused the GOP of forcing his hand by slow-walking so many of President Obamaâ€™s nominees.
Mr. Reid, of Nevada, said the Constitution only requires supermajority votes for specific circumstances: treaties, impeachments, constitutional amendments and overrides of presidential vetoes. He said everything else should be subject to a majority vote.
â€œIn the same paragraph where the Founding Fathers talked about a supermajority, they mentioned presidential nominations â€” majority,â€ Mr. Reid said at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. â€œThe Founding Fathers wanted an up-or-down vote, and thatâ€™s basically what weâ€™ve been crying for now for years.â€
Filibusters donâ€™t appear in the Constitution, but rather are a term applied to the Senate tradition of extended debate. Until 1917, there was no way to end any debates. But that year, the Senate changed its rules to establish a supermajority to cut off debate.
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