House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, made it clear that any bill that came to the House from the upper chamber as a result of Senate Democrats changing the rules on the filibuster would be “dead on arrival.” In a statement released from Speaker Boehner’s office, the Ohio GOP’er remarked:
“Senate Democrats’ attempt to break Senate rules in order to change Senate rules is clearly designed to marginalize Senate Republicans and their constituents while greasing the skids for controversial partisan measures. I question the wisdom of this maneuver, especially at a time when cooperation on Capitol Hill is critical, and fully support Leader McConnell’s efforts to protect minority rights, which are an essential part of our constitutional tradition. Any bill that reaches a Republican-led House based on Senate Democrats’ heavy-handed power play would be dead on arrival.”
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Adam Jentleson responded to Boehner’s comments, reportedly saying:
“Putting aside the fact that the Speaker’s views on Senate procedure are effectively irrelevant, it is a shame to see Speaker Boehner join Senator McConnell’s desperate attempt to double down on the status quo of Republican-led gridlock in Washington. Senate Democrats are determined to make Washington work better to get things done for the middle class. We hope Republicans will work with us, but after watching them spend the last four years engaging in nothing but knee-jerk obstruction and delay, we are not holding our breath.”
Describing his frustration with the filibuster fight, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, told reporters on Tuesday that “the last thing on my list would have been to throw a bomb into the Senate, have it blow up, and have everybody mad as heck.”
I spoke with Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, on Tuesday about the Democrats’ push to reform filibuster rules this year and asked about his statements regarding protecting the filibuster in 2005, when Senate Democrats were in the minority and George W. Bush was in the White House.
“That was 386 filibusters ago. I had no idea it would be abused up to this point,” Sen. Durbin said of his statements 7 years ago. “It’s clear that one Party has abused it and I think it’s unfair and unfortunate, but that’s where we are. If the Senate is going to function, we have to get beyond this horrible filibuster obstruction,” he added.