Harry Reid is so terrified of losing his majority that he won’t allow Republicans to take part in the legislative process

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been ruling the chamber almost like a dictator. He went nuclear on the filibuster, turning the Senate into a virtual rubber stamp for President Barack Obama’s court nominees, including a controversial pick who wrote a memo justifying extrajudicial killings of American citizens.

But Reid’s suppression of minority rights doesn’t end there. He’s also prevented Senate Republicans from offering perfectly relevant amendments to legislation to protect vulnerable Democrats against votes that could hurt them this fall:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to decide what Senate floor amendments Republicans can offer to guard against “gotcha” votes that could cost Democrats their majority.
Democrats worry [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell could split their caucus by forcing votes on broad tax policy instead of the basket of expired niche tax provisions the pending bill addresses.

Reid does not want to vote on a proposal to repeal Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax, even though the proposal has strong support in the Democratic caucus. That could put him and his colleagues on the slippery slope of reviewing all the tax increases in ObamaCare.

This has been going on for some time. Former Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who retired last year, told The Hill that Reid was so obsessed with the amendment process that he actually rewrote some Republican-backed amendments to keep Democrats from being put on the spot.

Reid has allowed Senate Republicans to offer a grand total of nine amendments since July 2013. His refusal to allow amendments last week to the Shaheen-Portman energy bill is what killed a vote on Keystone XL. And even though many Republicans support the tax extenders bill, they’re holding it up until Reid stops acting like a petty, tin-horned dictator and allows Republicans to take part in the legislative process.

While Democrats will not doubt say that Republicans are just trying to throw a wrench in the process, Reid has effectively made the atmosphere in the Senate so toxic that it’s impossible for any sort of compromise in the Senate, even if a majority of members on both sides of the aisle agree.

In the end, however, Reid’s desperate attempts to protect his majority may not matter much. The Washington Post forecast last week that Republicans have a 77 percent change of taking over the Senate this fall.

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