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Harry Reid devising plan to press forward with filibuster reform, aide says

By Greg Sargent
The Washington Post

Still more good news for filibuster reform: Harry Reid is in active discussions with his caucus about moving forward with reform in the new year, and is currently devising a plan to do just that, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me.

At a caucus meeting this week attended only by Senators and no staff, Reid and fellow Dems devoted a significant chunk of time to a discussion about specific ideas on how to proceed, the aide says.

Word of Reid's machinations comes after the National Journal reported yesterday that all the returning Democratic Senators have indicated support for efforts at reform, and are urging Reid to press forward at the start of the new year.

Though Reid has said in the past that he's generally supportive of reform, it has been unclear whether he would support active measures to make it happen. But the senior Dem leadership aide says Reid is already working on specific steps forward.

"They are already talking it through and devising a plan," the aide said of Reid and fellow Dems, adding that Reid is having "conversations" with other members of the caucus "about the best way to move forward."

The aide declined to say which specific reforms Reid favors and wouldn't specify a timetable, saying it would tip the Dems' hand to Republicans. Various ideas making the rounds include everything from propoposals to make senators actually filibuster to tinkering with the vote number threshold to start and end debate. Dems are also coalescing behind the so-called "constitutional option," which has it that each new Congress has the right to set its own rules by simple majority vote.

This is the Senate, of course, so plans can always change or even disappear without a trace. But it looks like Reid is gearing up to try to make reform happen.

First published at http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/harry_reid_devising_plan_to_fo.html on 12/23/2010