UPDATE: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told the Washington Post that he would introduce legislation to reform the filibuster in January.
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! ...
We've entered a new era here of outright stoppage at all costs. So that's what I'm trying to address with this amendment. I doubt anything will happen. But at least we'll start the process.
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With the news that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) plans to filibuster the current health care bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) options are looking increasingly limited. But one Democratic senator may introduce legislation that would make health care reform a lot easier.
Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa told reporters this weekend that he might reintroduce legislation to end the filibuster, something he first proposed in 1994. The Hawk Eye reports:
"I think, if anything, this health care debate is showing the dangers of unlimited filibuster," Harkin said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "I think there's a reason for slowing things down ... and getting the public aware of what's happening and maybe even to change public sentiment, but not to just absolutely stop something."
Under Harkin's proposal, debate could be prolonged by the minority -- just not forever.
"You could hold something up for maybe a month, but then, finally you'd come down to 51 votes and a majority would be able to pass," Harkin said. "I may revive that. I pushed it very hard at one time and then things kind of got a little better."
When Harkin fought the filibuster 15 years ago, one of his top allies was none other than Joe Lieberman.
"[People] are fed up -- frustrated and fed up and angry about the way in which our government does not work, about the way in which we come down here and get into a lot of political games and seem to -- partisan tugs of war and forget why we're here, which is to serve the American people," Lieberman said at the time. "And I think the filibuster has become not only in reality an obstacle to accomplishment here, but it also a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today."