Reid ready to get nuclear for the sake of Obama’s stalled nominees?

posted at 5:21 pm on July 9, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Senate Republicans have been holding out on a number of President Obama’s recent administrative nominees — including Gina McCarthy for Environmental Protection Agency chief, Tom Perez for head of the Department of Labor, the recess-appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, and nominees to the National Labor Relations Board among them — while they pointedly wait for the Obama administration to cough up answers for some of their more pressing queries, and Democrats are pretty vexed about the whole thing.

He’s threatened to do so before, and the issue of the stalled nominations is resulting in our esteemed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again finding himself confronted with the question of whether or not to trigger the “nuclear option” by moving to amend Senate procedure and put some restrictions on the minority’s right to filibuster. It’s apparently gettin’ real on Capitol Hill, via Politico:

Reid has refused to answer questions on the topic even as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues his campaign on the Senate floor to see if Reid will “keep his word” on not changing Senate rules in January — which Democrats are only too happy to turn on McConnell for promising “to work with the majority to process nominations.”

It’s still unclear whether Reid has the votes to change the rules, although the Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America and top Senate aides are confident Reid can marshal 51 members of his 54-member caucus to support at least easing the path for executive nominations such as Cabinet members.

There’s far less certainty on whether the caucus would like to tweak rules for judicial nominees as well. …

“We’ll certainly have a lot of delayed nominations up shortly, and we’ll find out if the Senate can function or not,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who along with Tom Udall of New Mexico is among the strongest advocates of a rules change. Neither has served in the Senate minority.

Several veteran senators, however, tend to take a little less readily to the idea of changing Senate procedure (the door swings both ways on minority-party rights, after all). Either way, Reid is taking the thing to caucus later this week to find out if enough Democrats really want to go there, via The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he planned with meet with his colleagues in two days, at which point a decision will be made on whether to change the upper chamber’s filibuster rules with the controversial tactic.

“I’m going to caucus on this Thursday, and I think Thursday by the time the day is out you’ll have a better idea of what we’re going to try and do on this,” he told reporters.

Reid is facing pressure to advance several stalled nominees by making a Senate rule change that would eliminate filibusters on nominees. Typically, a change to Senate rules requires 67 votes, but the parliamentary maneuvering of the nuclear option would require only a majority vote.

Thursday’s meeting will be Reid’s final chance to determine how badly his colleagues want to push several stalled presidential nominees…


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Nuke em Harry. You da man Harry! Nuke em!!!

Bmore on July 9, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Am I confused, or was this issue not brought up in January for the specific reason that the only way to change the filibuster rule by simple majority was to do it at the beginning of a new session of Gongress ?

That ship has sailed, has it not ?

deadrody on July 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Can we just say he went nuclear and bury him in the Yucca Mtn Nuclear Waste Repository?

Flange on July 9, 2013 at 5:31 PM

He goes nuclear and “Obama’s” Supreme Court nominees will all be hand selected by the Republican majority beginning in January 2015. Say hello to Supreme Court Justice John Yoo. Advise and consent will effectively become selection. Do it, Harry. I dare you.

blammm on July 9, 2013 at 5:34 PM

I’m seeing quite a bit of flak…must be on target.

DanMan on July 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Am I confused, or was this issue not brought up in January for the specific reason that the only way to change the filibuster rule by simple majority was to do it at the beginning of a new session of Gongress ?

That ship has sailed, has it not ?

deadrody on July 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

They’re implementing the rules in a “careful, thoughtful manner,” so the rules need not apply.

blammm on July 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Why not, Bark breaks the law and no one yipes about it, what’s a petty procedure in comparison.

Bishop on July 9, 2013 at 5:45 PM

We double dog dare you, Reid

Sekhmet on July 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM

I say nuke Harry Reid….

redguy on July 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Am I confused, or was this issue not brought up in January for the specific reason that the only way to change the filibuster rule by simple majority was to do it at the beginning of a new session of Gongress ?

That ship has sailed, has it not ?

deadrody on July 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Look up the words “the nuclear option” on Wikipedia and you’ll find an explanation to your question.

The short-answer is, No, the rules can actually be changed at anytime by a simple majority vote if you use a parliamentary trick involving Points of Order and Appealing from the Chair. The net effect of a “nuclear option” is to declare a Senate precedent (like the filibuster) unconstitutional and therefore have it set aside. Once set aside, the precedent no longer controls the Senate operations and the majority can do whatever it wants.

However, doing this would create a huge backlash from the minority party and they would likely then bring the Senate to a grinding halt by requiring obsolete Senate procedures to be followed, like reading a bill out loud by the Senate Parliamentarian.

powerpickle on July 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

DO NOT comment,open another tab,just about ready to go:

NBCNews.com | July 09, 2013
NTSB holds news conference on SFO crash

LIVE VIDEO — The National Transportation Safety Board holds a media briefing on its investigation into the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco.
==============

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbcnews.com/52430697

canopfor on July 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Hmm,,,,,,

Nuclear Reid is mulling over a Test,in Nevada!

(sarc)

canopfor on July 9, 2013 at 5:51 PM

So the nuclear option is a terrible, underhanded, despicable tactic when the GOP has the majority, but is a wonderful, great, and fantastic tactic when the dems are in control.

Sounds fair to me.

RoadRunner on July 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

With a team like bark has fielded so far, the first question asked of every appointee is “please tell the committee what laws have you broken and what lies have you told to avoid being punished”. If they answer none, the second question should be, “since you haven’t been caught yet, what laws do you plan on breaking and what lies to you intend to tell to avoid being caught in the future”.

antipc on July 9, 2013 at 5:56 PM

so, similar to how Zer0Care was passed…not technically a “nuclear options”, but passed by a 100% partisan simple majority in both houses of congress…

kirkill on July 9, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Not a problem. The Senate started it, so the House is then free to “retaliate nuclear” by refusing to fund whatever they want until those appointments and previous illegal recess appointments are fired.

I know, of course Democrats are the only one with the balls to go nuclear.

elfman on July 9, 2013 at 6:01 PM

I thought the left was the party of no nukes?

birdwatcher on July 9, 2013 at 6:02 PM

So the nuclear option is a terrible, underhanded, despicable tactic when the GOP has the majority, but is a wonderful, great, and fantastic tactic when the dems are in control.

Sounds fair to me.

RoadRunner
on July 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

I’m pretty sure their tongues are all black and furry.

I was told as a child that’s the sign of a LIIIAARRR.

avagreen on July 9, 2013 at 6:04 PM

whether or not to trigger the “nuclear option” by moving to amend Senate procedure and put some restrictions on the minority’s right to filibuster.

I thought that Senate rules can only be changed with a simple majority at /before a new Senate comes into place. That would mean that John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Co. would have to walk across the aisle to break a Republican filibuster in a terrific and unforgivable betrayal.

RJL on July 9, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Slightly OT:

Harry Reid: Insufficient Government Spending Hurts U.S. Economy
(CNSNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a press release Friday that insufficient government spending, caused by Republican “austerity policies” is hurting the U.S. economy and preventing a quicker recovery.

“We need to continue advancing policies that spur growth and create jobs,” Reid said. “It’s time for Republicans to let go of their failed austerity policies that weigh down our economy and prevent a speedier recovery. We simply can’t cut our way to prosperity.”

Southern by choice22 on July 9, 2013 at 6:18 PM

I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard Democrats, probably all of them at one time or another, say they were holding up nominees who were “radical, out of the mainstream”. Well if they can do it, why can’t the Republicans?

I would remind Harry Reid that, once the genie is out of the bottle, it will be very difficult to return. The Democrats won’t have the IRS and DOJ next election so it’s going to be a lot more difficult to steal. Without that, there’s a good chance they lose the Senate and seats in the House. Do they really want a majority Republican Senate with no worries about a filibuster? I think not.

bflat879 on July 9, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Gina McCarthy for Environmental Protection Agency chief, Tom Perez for head of the Department of Labor, the recess-appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, and nominees to the National Labor Relations Board among them.

Let them all go pound sand.

22044 on July 9, 2013 at 6:22 PM

So the nuclear option is a terrible, underhanded, despicable tactic when the GOP has the majority, but is a wonderful, great, and fantastic tactic when the dems are in control.

Sounds fair to me.

RoadRunner on July 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Sounds typical to me.

tgharris on July 9, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Can we just say he went nuclear and bury him in the Yucca Mtn Nuclear Waste Repository?

Flange on July 9, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Excellent!

Mahdi on July 9, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Best thing Reid can do for the country is commit seppuku! But that would require someone with a strong sense of honor!

GarandFan on July 9, 2013 at 6:40 PM

yep….. when a barbie doll filibusters in Texas the democrats are all peaches and cream bout the maneuver …. when republicans do it….. well….. goes to show…. it ain’t the thuggery that they mind as long as their guy is doing the looting

roflmmfao

donabernathy on July 9, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I have always been opposed to the filibuster.

While there would be short-term wins for the DNC (getting these nominees appointed), overall it would be more of a boon for the GOP to not have a filibuster.

The filibuster is rarely used successfully by the GOP but often used successfully by the DNC. Just for starters, as many have pointed out above, the media covers filibusters completely differently – when the GOP does one it is reported as anti-democratic, thuggery, etc. When the DNC does one it is reported as principled, looking out of the little guy, etc.

Also, the filibuster allows politicians to play an issue both ways. Not voting for cloture but pretending they would vote for the bill if it were brought to a vote (the GOP Senators do this often – the GOP likes to allow the dems to stall legislation the Senators don’t want but that the base wants). Or, vice-versa voting for cloture and then against the bill.

It also hurts the conservatives much, much more on the judiciary than it does dems. Very few extremely liberal dem nominees fail to get through while our best and brightest conservative nominees are routinely stopped.

And finally, the filibuster is simply anti-democratic. Elections have consequences.

I would also get rid of allowing any senator being allowed to put a “hold” on anything.

I say let Reid get rid of the filibuster. The GOP will never get rid of it b/c the press would crucify the GOP for doing so. So, go ahead Reid, through us in that briar patch. the GOP will regain the majority in the Senate at some point.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 8:59 AM

I say let Reid get rid of the filibuster. The GOP will never get rid of it b/c the press would crucify the GOP for doing so. So, go ahead Reid, through us in that briar patch. the GOP will regain the majority in the Senate at some point.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 8:59 AM

And, without the filibuster, repeal of Obamacare (if a republican wins the WH) becomes much, much easier. It actually becomes not just theoretically possible, but eminently doable.

With the filibuster in place, it is highly unlikely that Obamacare will be overturned, even with GOP control of the WH, Senate and House of Representatives, b/c it is very unlikely that the GOP will have 60+ votes in the senate any time soon.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Note that Reid wants to tie a pretty little bow around his rule change so that it would only “eliminate filibusters on nominees“.

Thus, he thinks he can keep the cork in the Obamacare bottle of the future.

Carnac on July 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Note that Reid wants to tie a pretty little bow around his rule change so that it would only “eliminate filibusters on nominees“.

Thus, he thinks he can keep the cork in the Obamacare bottle of the future.

Carnac on July 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Yes, but he will have set a precedent.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

And, without the filibuster, repeal of Obamacare (if a republican wins the WH) becomes much, much easier. It actually becomes not just theoretically possible, but eminently doable.

With the filibuster in place, it is highly unlikely that Obamacare will be overturned, even with GOP control of the WH, Senate and House of Representatives, b/c it is very unlikely that the GOP will have 60+ votes in the senate any time soon.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM

You don’t need to beat the filibuster to repeal Obamacare. Since repeal would reduce the federal deficit, the whole thing can be repealed via reconciliation (the same method that was used to pass the law in the first place). Reconciliation only requires a simple majority.

blammm on July 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Watch the media’s heads explode if this happens. They just finished making Wendy Davis a hero for filibustering a Texas abortion bill. So, how can they now castigate a party that doesn’t want that to end?

djaymick on July 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

You don’t need to beat the filibuster to repeal Obamacare. Since repeal would reduce the federal deficit, the whole thing can be repealed via reconciliation (the same method that was used to pass the law in the first place). Reconciliation only requires a simple majority.

blammm on July 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

While I agree that could be done, I have no faith in the GOP to do this. But, Obamacare is not my primary reason for being against the filibuster – I have always been against it.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 1:57 PM

So, how can they now castigate a party that doesn’t want that to end?

djaymick on July 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

If they only get rid of the filibuster for nominations, the media will claim it is two separate issues – filibuster of nominations versus filibuster of legislation – which will also set the media up nicely for arguing against the GOP getting rid of the filibuster as to legislation when the GOP gains the majority.

Monkeytoe on July 10, 2013 at 1:59 PM