Obstruction Leader Harry Reid to Attempt Historic Filibuster on Override of Keystone Veto

March 2, 2015

Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) is taking unprecedented steps to block Senate Republicans, even though his actions will result in nothing but procedural delay.

In another example of Democrats playing the role of obstructionists, Harry Reid will force the Senate to go through procedural hurdles to delay Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from bringing up the president’s Keystone XL veto for an override vote.

Last week, President Obama vetoed the popular bipartisan Keystone XL Pipeline bill passed by the Senate.

This week, the Senate is planning a vote to override the president’s veto. Democrats, led by Minority Leader Harry Reid, are set to revoke normal order and attempt to filibuster the override of the president’s veto message.

The cloture vote on a veto message will be the first in the history of the United States Senate. That is because the threshold for a veto override is 67, while the threshold for a cloture vote is only 60. The cloture vote is nothing more than a redundancy since it is assumed cloture would be reached if the Senate were aiming for a two-thirds override.

"The number of senators required to end debate is less than the number required to override a veto," the Congressional Research Service said.

The Senate majority, joined by a number of Democrats, will file for cloture on Wednesday so that the override vote can take place on Thursday.

McConnell called out Reid’s actions on the Senate floor on Monday. He deplored Reid for partisan posturing that stands in direct contrast to the bipartisan spirit exhibited in the Keystone bill.

"There is no reason for a filibuster other than to delay and cause gridlock simply for its own sake.," McConnell said. "It's certainly disappointing, but the new Congress won't be deterred from fighting for jobs and the middle class."

As it stands, the Senate will easily overcome Reid’s filibuster but needs four more Democrats to join them to deliver a historic overturn of the president’s veto. One thing is clear: Reid will go to whatever extremes he can think of just to hold things up in Congress.