Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday he doesn’t regret overhauling the chamber’s filibuster rules in 2013 for certain judgeships and executive nominations.
In fact, he said it helped Democrats muscle through high-profile legislation Congress had already passed years earlier.
“We had no choice,” the Nevada Democrat said on MSNBC. “Did I regret it? No, I’m glad we did it. It made Obama’s presidency remarkable.”
He said that as a result of the rules changes, Democrats managed to get more than 100 judges and a number of Cabinet officers approved.
“Just as importantly, we were able as a result of that change I made get the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, approved,” he said.
Former President Barack Obama signed Obamacare into law in March 2010.
Mr. Reid also cited the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill, which passed in 2010, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which was the first bill Mr. Obama signed into law as president.
“We did lots of good things as a result of that rule change, and I’m glad we did it,” he said.
Mr. Reid and the Democrats did not change the 60-vote filibuster threshold for legislation and U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
Republicans said in 2013 that Mr. Reid and the Democrats would live to regret the rules change, and some observers say the move effectively paved the way for President Trump to install what will likely be three Supreme Court justices to the high court.
In 2017, Senate Republicans changed the rules so Supreme Court nominees could win confirmation with simple majorities.