Democrats Called Nuclear Option ‘A Historic Mistake’

REID ON NUCLEAR OPTION: ‘Un-American,’ ‘Illegal,’ ‘Complete Abuse Of Power’ 

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “There is no way that I would employ or use the nuclear option… I want every Republican to hear that … The nuclear option was only one of the things that Republicans in power at that time did or tried to do to ruin our country… The nuclear option was the most important issue I’d ever worked on in my entire career because if that had gone forward, it would have destroyed the Senate as we know it.” (“Reid Rules Out ‘Nuclear Option’ Against Nominee Filibusters,” CQ Today, 3/27/09)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I would never, ever consider breaking the rules to change the rules. I never suggested that at all. I say to my friend, I want to work something out. I repeat that for probably the fifth time here today, but in the process we cannot give up the basic rights this country and this Senate have had for more than 200 years.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4242, 4/26/05)

  • REID: “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abuse of power...” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)
  • REID: “For people to suggest that you can break the rules to change the rules is un-American.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)
  • REID: “You have to break the rules to change them in this instance because if you follow the rules, you cannot do it with a simple majority… We cannot go down that slippery slope.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4464, 4/28/05)
  • REID: “To change the rules in the Senate can't be done by a simple majority. It can only be done if there is extended debate by 67 votes.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5455, 5/19/05
  • REID: “The only way you can change the rule in this body… requires 67 votes. You can't do it with 60. You certainly cannot do it with 51.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)
  • REID: “They are talking about doing something illegal. They are talking about breaking the rules to change the rules, and that is not appropriate. That is not fair, and it is not right.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)


SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “The Senate stands at the precipice of a truly historic mistake … history will judge this Majority harshly if it succeeds in changing the way the Founders intended the Senate to behave, emasculating it into a parliament governed by a single party's ideology...” (Sen. Biden, Congressional Record, S.5738, 5/23/05)

  • BIDEN: “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party… It is nothing more or nothing less.” (Sen. Biden, Congressional Record, S.5735, 5/23/05)


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): “…everyone in this Chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse.” (Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.3512, 4/13/05)