Talks betwen Harry Reid and Jesus H. Frist have ended.
“The negotiations are over,” Mr. Reid said as he left the office of the majority leader, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee. “I have tried to compromise, and they want all or nothing, and I can’t do that. It will have to be decided on the Senate floor, hopefully this week.”
And Harry is confident about where the votes will fall.
As talks broke down, Democrats were cautiously optimistic that they might beat the rule change outright by attracting at least six Republicans to vote against it. Three Republicans have signaled they will vote against the rule change: McCain, Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine).
Many Democrats think Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will join Snowe in voting against a change in the rules, but she has not stated her position. Other Republicans the Democrats see as possible allies include Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (Pa.), Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (Va.) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.).
Warner remained officially undecided yesterday. “Senator Warner has not indicated which way he will vote on the nuclear or constitutional option,” said his spokesman, John Ullyot. “He is a traditionalist, and recognizes the historical importance of the filibuster to the Senate, but also feels that it has been misused in recent years with respect to judicial nominations.”
On Sunday, another senior Republican senator, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), said he opposes getting rid of the filibuster but stopped short of saying he would vote with the Democrats. Democrats said yesterday they doubt he will side with them, but they still think Specter might.
“I am confident and hopeful that there will be six Republican senators who will be profiles in courage,” [Reid] said.