Pols split on move to end logjam

Iowa’s United States senators expressed starkly different views on eliminating the filibuster during consideration of some presidential appointees.

Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, called it a bad move that Democrats will someday regret.

”Changing the rules of the Senate in this way was a mistake,” Grassley said in a statement he read during the Senate’s debate of the issue. A copy of his remarks was released by his office.

”But if there is one thing that will always be true, it’s this: majorities are fickle,” Grassley said. ”Majorities are fleeting. Here today. Gone tomorrow.”

”So the majority has chosen to take us down this path, the silver lining is that there will come a day when the roles are reversed,” he added. ”When that happens, our side will likely nominate and confirm lower court and Supreme Court nominees with 51 votes, regardless of whether the Democrats actually buy into this fanciful notion that they can demolish the filibuster on lower court nominees and still preserve it for Supreme Court nominees.”

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, called the change a needed reform. He said that 20 years ago he argued that the change was needed to enable the Senate to respond to current challenges.

”Since that time, the use of the filibuster has accelerated to the point where now even the most routine and mundane business is subjected to the filibuster by the minority party,” Harkin said in a statement issued by his office.

”While neither party has completely clean hands in this respect, the Republican Party’s recent abuse of the filibuster to block qualified nominees is without precedent in the U.S. Senate,” he added. ”If the chamber is to be able to respond to the challenges of the 21st century this cannot go on. For that reason, I welcome the Senate’s action today and I was proud to support Majority Leader Reid in this vote.”