Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not know if he had the votes to trigger the nuclear option at the start of last week.
A Democratic leadership aide said he had not yet conducted a whip count and an outside liberal group that worked closely with him to advocate for filibuster reform said he was short of the 50 votes needed.
Reid never told his colleagues when he surpassed the mark. He simply called for a vote on the floor. That’s when Democrats knew they were about to enact one of the biggest Senate rules changes in decades.
“I just assumed he would never take it to the floor unless he had the votes. He’s too shrewd a vote counter. He really knows the Senate,” said a Democrat senator.