ACTION ALERT: Call Senator Reid and read his 2005 quotes on the Nuclear Option.


As the Democrats push forward with their plan to change the Senate rules so as to end the minority parties ability to filibuster legislation and require 60 votes, sources close to the Majority Leader’s office tell the Huffington Post that he appears determined.


“I’ve gotten every impression that Reid and leadership are determined this time to do it,” said one aide advocating for reform.

Another Democratic aide involved in the effort said that the Senate remains “on track for a vote,” despite fierce Republican opposition. “Reid will speak to the caucus today and take them through next steps,” the source told HuffPost. “Support is there.”

As a quick refresher, let’s see what Senator Reid has said about the so-called Nuclear Option when Republicans first threatened it in response to previously unprecedented filibusters of judicial nominees.

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: “As I said, violating 217 years of standard procedure in the Senate, changing the rules by breaking the rules, is about as far as you could get from a constitutional option.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5250, 5/17/05)

REID: “One of the good things about this institution we have found in the 214 years it has been in existence is that the filibuster, which has been in existence since the beginning, from the days of George Washington–we have changed the rules as relates to it a little bit but never by breaking the rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4437, 4/27/05)

REID: “The time has come for those Senators of the majority to decide where they stand, whether they will abide by the rules of the Senate or break the rules for the first time in 217 years–217 years–of American history. Will they support the checks and balances established by the Founding Fathers… It is hard for me to intellectually understand, emotionally understand how a Senator could say they know we are right but they are willing to break the rules to change the rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5198, 5/16/05)

REID: “…there is no cause for the majority to break the rules and 217 years of Senate traditions to take that right away. Mr. Smith should still be able to come to Washington, with either a Democratic or Republican Senate.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4613, 5/9/05)

REID: “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abuse of power, the right to extended debate.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)

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)

SEN. REID: ‘Un-American,’ ‘Illegal,’ ‘Improper,’ ‘A Partisan Political Grab,’ ‘Want Absolute Power’

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “The Senate is a body of moderation. While the House is the voice of a single man, single woman, and the House of Representatives is a voice of the majority, the Senate is the forum of the States. It is the saucer that cools the coffee. It is the world’s greatest deliberative body. How will we call this the world’s greatest deliberative body after the majority breaks the rules to silence the minority? Breaking the rules to change the rules. … They don’t want consensus or compromise. They don’t want advice and consent. They want absolute power. To get it, the President and majority leader will do all they can to silence the minority in the Senate and remove the last check we have in Washington against this abuse of power.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5456, 5/19/05)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “For people to suggest that you can break the rules to change the rules is un-American. The only way you can change the rule in this body is through a rule that now says, to change a rule in the Senate rules to break a filibuster still requires 67 votes. You can’t do it with 60. You certainly cannot do it with 51. But now we are told the majority is going to do the so-called nuclear option. We will come in here, having the Vice President seated where my friend and colleague from Nevada is seated. The Parliamentarian would acknowledge it is illegal, it is wrong, you can’t do it, and they would overrule it. It would simply be: We are going to do it because we have more votes than you. You would be breaking the rules to change the rules. That is very un-American.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)

REID: “The majority can’t get what they want so they break the rules to change the rules. We believe the traditions of the Senate should be maintained. We believe if you are going to change the rules in the Senate, change them legally, not illegally.” (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)

REID: “The American people, in effect, reject the nuclear option because they see it for what it is–an abuse of power, arrogance of power. Lord Acton said power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. … That is what is going on. The rules are being changed in the middle of the game. They are breaking the rules to change the rules. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, Americans understand this is a partisan political grab.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)

REID: “I would answer to my friend, not only is there a suggestion about changing the rules, but they are going to do it by breaking the rules. To change a rule here in the Senate takes a simple majority. But if somebody wants to speak in an extensive manner relating to that rule change , you have to break a filibuster. They are not willing to do that. They are going to use brute force and break the rules to change the rules. That is what they are talking about.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4436, 4/27/05)

REID: “The world is watching us. We should not be changing the rules by breaking the rules. We should not do that.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4614, 5/9/05)

REID: “We believe in following the rules, not breaking the rules. And while it is good to talk about this up-or-down vote, the fact is if we move forward as contemplated by the majority, it is moving toward breaking the rules to change the rules. That is improper. It will change the Senate forever and that is not good.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5375, 5/18/05)

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. So I do not at all say that the statements made by the Republican leader were wrong about our wanting votes and we were disturbed that there are no votes, but we never, ever suggested that rules should be broken.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5455, 5/19/05)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “You remember when you were growing up and you had this kid who was never happy? You couldn’t win a game because he kept changing the rules in the middle of the game, and if you didn’t allow the change, all he did was whine about it? … What is going on in Washington? Trying to change the rules in the middle of the game is un-American.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4437, 4/27/05)


I urge everyone with access to a phone to call the Senate offices of Harry Reid and read ALL of these quotes to his staff as a reminder to 2013 Harry Reid that 2005 Harry Reid is appalled.

Here are his office contacts:

Carson City
600 East William Street, #304
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-7343 / Fax: 775-883-1980

Las Vegas
Lloyd D. George Building
333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 8016
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030

Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building
400 South Virginia Street, Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

Rural Nevada
If you live in Esmeralda, Lincoln, or Nye Counties:
Phone: 702-388-5020 / Fax: 702-388-5030
If you live in Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey or White Pine County:
Phone: 775-686-5750 / Fax: 775-686-5757

522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327
Toll Free for Nevadans: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343) – Restricted to calls originating from area codes 775 and 702

Reid Newsroom
Sen. Reid’s Nevada Press Office 202-224-9521 (for inquiries from Nevada media)
Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center 202-224-2939


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