But Senators and aides acknowledge that there are not enough votes within the Democratic caucus to pass that proposal as is. Republicans have responded somewhat favorably to the proposal to eliminate anonymous holds on legislation and nominations, but they have ardently objected changing the rules by a simple majority vote.
Harkin said the Senate has voted three times to validate that only a simple majority is needed if changes are made on the first legislative day. However, he acknowledged that the chamber has never actually followed through with the option because bipartisan agreements have always been reached.
Reid is holding open the Senate’s first legislative day for the entirety of the two-week recess in order to preserve his options. Harkin indicated the first legislative day could last well into the week of Jan. 24.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.