by Steven Ertelt
March 15, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Republicans announced on Tuesday that they have enough votes necessary to change the Senate rules on filibusters and make it easier to bring President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees up for a vote. However, Democratic Party leaders said they would shut down the Senate if rule changes were made.
In a letter to Senate Republican Leader Bill First, Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid said any change in the rules would be "an unprecedented abuse of power."
Reid indicated that Senate Democrats would shut down the Senate for any business other than military and national security matters.
"Beyond that very limited scope, however, we will be reluctant to enter into any consent agreement that facilitates Senate activities, even on routine matters," Reid said.
Supporters of changing the Senate rules to lower the 60 vote benchmark for stopping filibusters say they’re ready to proceed.
Manuel Miranda, a former top aide for judicial nominations to First who now works with the Heritage Foundation, told the Boston Globe that he believes there are 53 votes in favor of changing the rules.
”The question now is not if but when," he said about a vote to do that.
Senate Republicans want to make the rules changes now so they will not come just before a vote on a potential Supreme Court nominee.
Democrats filibustered 10 of President Bush’s pro-life picks for federal appeals and district courts during the last session of Congress and have planned filibusters of another slate of nominees this time around.
While Republicans, along with pro-life Democrat Bill Nelson of Nebraska, have the votes to confirm nominees, they don’t have enough to stop the filibusters.