Reid Backs Off Threat to Blockade Senate Committee Meetings

Move to invoke two-hour rule added extra dose of partisanship

Posted September 7, 2016 at 12:47pm

The customary finger pointing accompanying Tuesday’s return of the Senate came with an extra dose of partisanship: Minority Leader Harry Reid indicated his intent to use Senate rules to curtail or blockade Senate committees from meeting.

Under Senate rule XXVI, with some exceptions, Senate hearings may not meet once the Senate has concluded the first two hours of its session without the unanimous consent of all 100 members. The rule also prohibits the committees from conducting business after 2 p.m. unless the senators allow it.

Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., on Tuesday evening announced that a hearing planned for 2:30 p.m. would instead be held at 10 a.m.

Reid told CQ Roll Call he plans to continue to invoke the two-hour rule. But on Wednesday the Senate agreed unanimously to allow many committees to meet.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn responded to Reid’s gambit by saying Democrats “have put the ‘D’ back in dysfunction again.”

“We got the majority under his leadership, they didn’t get anything done, and now they’re trying to of course block any normal functioning of the Senate, and to some extent they’ve been successful, which has created the mess that we’re having to clean up during this remaining few weeks,” Cornyn said.