POLITICS
06/26/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Harry Reid Forces Filibustering GOP Senators To Come To The Floor

Democrats are using a variety of parliamentary maneuvers to make obstructing Wall Street reform difficult for the GOP. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), after a failed vote to overcome a Republican filibuster, put forward a motion to compel senators to come to the Senate floor for a quorum call.

[UPDATE: Reid just filed cloture, which means a vote on Wednesday. But, Reid spokesman Jim Manley tells HuffPost, the majority leader will also make a motion to reconsider tomorrow. So that's two votes in two days.]

The majority leader cannot practically force filibustering senators to actually talk out their obstruction, but he does have various other ways of making their lives inconvenient. Reid's motion instructs the Sergeant-at-Arms to find absent senators and order them to the Senate floor. Sen. Bob Byrd (D-W.Va.), when he was majority leader, ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to physically carry obstructing senators to the floor, one of the more extreme measures taken under the rule.

Reid's motion carried, 50-31.

The vote to defeat the filibuster failed amid unified GOP obstruction, joined by Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson.

Democrats -- other than Ben Nelson -- hope that forcing repeated votes will break Republican opposition.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), a member of Senate leadership, said he saw more such votes in the Senate's future. "I hope we keep voting on this. Ultimately, perhaps the American people will say to the Republicans that are voting to block wall street reform that that's not what the American people expect," he said.

Shortly after the vote, President Obama released a sharply worded statement urging Senate Democrats to continue the fight:

"I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin. Some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether. But the American people can't afford that. A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees, and helped cause the pain that has left millions of Americans without jobs and without homes. The reform that both parties have been working on for a year would prevent a crisis like this from happening again, and I urge the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party."