Tell me a bit about your reform bill. When you first introduced this, Joe Lieberman was your co-sponsor, right?
Well, I introduced that first in 1995, when we were in the minority. I’m going to reintroduce that again in January. And people are going to say I only worry about this because I’m in the majority. But I come with clean hands! I started when I was in the minority!
The idea is to give some time for extended debate but eventually allow a majority to work its will. I do believe there’s some reason to have extended debate. If a group of senators filibusters a bill, you want to take their worries seriously. Make sure you’re not missing something. My proposal will do that. It says that on the first vote, you need 60. Then you have to wait two days, and on the third day, you need 57 votes. And then you need to wait two days, and on the third day, it’s 54 votes. And then you’d wait another two days, and on the third day, it would be 51 votes.
I really hope he is successful in this move, but I’m not too optimistic. The problem is that even Democrats in the majority realize that a time will come when they are in the minority again and will want the power of the filibuster. You also have a problem with people like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman. The power of the filibuster is what gave them so much leverage over health care, and I doubt they will want to get rid of that, despite the fact that Lieberman was the co-sponsor of this bill in 1995.