Republicans react to possible filibuster reform:
Senator Coburn, meanwhile, warns that reform would require Republicans to finally “fight back” (as if they’ve been a passive observer of Senate business for the last four years) because it will “take away minority rights.” So let’s be as clear as possible: The package of reforms most likely to be adopted would not take away the ability of the minority to block legislation supported by a majority of the Senate.
That’s right: While the reforms currently being considered would force filibustering into the open and end the ability to filibuster before proceeding to debate and in other situations, they would not — repeat, not — mean an end to the filibuster on ending debate and having a final vote on any bill. In other words, these reforms would simply remove ways of using the filibuster explicitly as a tactic to gum up the works by stalling legislation, without altering the underlying ability to block legislation with a minority of the Senate. It would fundamentally remain a 60-vote institution where majority rule doesn’t automatically prevail. Indeed, some liberals think this means the reforms aren’t good enough.
These GOP warnings remind us, as Mike Tomasky points out, that there is going to be a ferocious spin war over filibuster reform, and Dems need to be prepared. But the news media plays a role here, too. News outlets may well fall into a familiar pattern of false equivalence and fail to inform readers of the unadorned facts of the situation and the basic history of the last four years — essentially misleading their readers and viewers in the name of fake “balance.”