As DeMint Steps Down, Reid Pushes for Filibuster Reform in Senate

Friday, December 07, 2012

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid makes his way through photographers and journalists while returning to his office July 31, 2011 in the District of Columbia. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images/Getty)

With the 2012 election behind us and several new Democrats on their way to Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to push filibuster reform through Congress. He's aiming to end the "silent" filibuster, which allows the minority to extend debate and hold up a vote on legislation without actually being in the Senate chambers. 

But, as Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich explains, in order to do that, he'll have to convince some Senate Democrats who are currently on the fence. Republicans don't support the plan, so Reid won't have the two-thirds majority he needs to change Senate rules. To circumvent that, Reid is planning to use the "nuclear option," which according to some allows a simple majority to change Senate rules on the first day of the session.

As Reid moves on filibuster reform, other changes are under way in the Senate. as Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has announced that he will leave his Congressional post in January, to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. 

DeMint, the vocal leader of the Tea Party movement, has served in the Senate for the last seven years and spent six years in the House of Representatives before that. DeMint hasn't said what exactly prompted his sudden exit from Congress.

Chairman of the South Carolina GOP Chad Connelly has worked in Republican politics for over twenty years. He discusses DeMint's career, who might replace him, and how the South Carolina GOP will move forward. 

Guests:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Joe Hernandez

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