Posted by | January 3, 2011 22:47 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

Congratulations to Harry Reid for becoming the most successful Senate Majority Leader in history at killing attempted filibusters during the 111th Congress! Reid successfully defeated Republican filibusters 69% of the time they were attempted. The prior record was shared by Republican Bill Frist and Democrat Mike Mansfield in the 106th Congress and 94th Congress, respectively. Mansfield and Frist both achieved cloture 63% of the time, although Frist won with only 55 votes while Mansfield had 61. Reid enjoyed a 58 to 60-seat majority during his record-breaking tenure, for various different reasons: the late seating of Al Franken, the deaths of Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy, and the special election victory of Scott Brown. Hooray! This is truly a historic day for those who care about arcane Senate procedure!

On a more serious note, this obscure statistic certainly makes Reid look more impressive as a leader. It was hard for progressives to frustratingly watch unbearable levels of obstruction on the part of the Senate Republicans, and at times Reid looked weak and helpless in his efforts to fight back. But given that Reid has broken filibusters at a higher percentage than any other Senate Majority Leader, maybe progressives have been too hard on him?

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