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October 13, 2015

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Harry Reid says abuse of filibuster must end

CARSON CITY — U.S. Sen. Harry Reid today renewed his threat to go after filibuster rules that have hindered President Barack Obama’s cabinet appointments, but don’t expect him to back eliminating the filibuster when it comes to legislation.

Despite having watched Republicans scuttle gun control legislation by invoking the 60-vote filibuster rule and routinely complaining of GOP “obstruction,” Reid said he has no intention of seeking its elimination entirely.

“I said when I left for recess that I was going to work with Republicans to try to get something done and I am going to do that,” Reid said for a taping of the public affairs television program “To the Point.”

“I do know this, you cannot have — whether the new president is Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton — you can’t have a president of the United States who can’t have their team,” Reid said.

Reid and Republicans have been fighting, most recently, over the confirmation of Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Reid has moved that confirmation vote to July, after the immigration debate is expected to be finished and when a renewed battle over the filibuster is expected.

But Reid was clear about the limits of his filibuster fight.

“End the filibuster? No, I don’t think we should get rid of the filibuster,” he said. “It works both ways. I’m not here beating the drum to change the filibuster for everything. It has its place, but it shouldn’t be abused.”

Reid said the key to solving what he has labeled as Republican obstruction is for the party to rid itself of so-called Tea Party Republicans.

In the wide ranging, 30-minute interview, Reid also disputed a recent claim by Sen. Bob Menendez that the Senate does not have 60 votes to pass the Gang of 8’s immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

“I talked about this to a number of my senators today, and what he wanted to say is they haven’t done a whip count on this yet,” Reid said. “I think we have 60 votes. Remember, we start out at 55 Democrats. I think the most I’ll lose is two or three. Let’s say I wind up with 52 Democrats. I only need eight Republicans, and I already have four, so that should be pretty easy.”

Reid’s full interview will air at 9:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 3.

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