When the DREAM Act was debated a few years ago, it couldn’t pass the Senate not because a majority of Senators were against the measure, but because the GOP filibustered and Democrats couldn’t find the 60 votes they needed. Republicans filibustered more than 200 bills in the last Congress which is as many as they had in the last several decades combined.The filibuster has been used as well against a number of other pro-immigration efforts.
Huffington Post is reporting that Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged today to change the rules so that the minority party has fewer options to obstruct legislation. He won’t eliminate the filibuster, but he’s going to make it a lot harder to use. Reid’s ideas include doing away with the motion to proceed, but some are saying that such a proposal is too modest and it would remain easy to gum up the process at other stages. There are other proposals that include reform ideas that Reid has said he is open to considering including ending secret holds, guaranteeing amendments that can be offered by the majority and minority, requiring a “talking filibuster” where senators must remain on the Senate floor and an expedite process for nominations.
In all likelihood, the filibuster rules would be set at the beginning of the new Congress where arguably a simple majority would be all that is required for passage.