Reid to go nuclear on executive branch employee votes

Rick Moran
To the great delight of his rabid base, Senate Majority Harry Reid is about to conduct a vote that would change Senate rules, the effect of which would be to allow for a simple majority to confirm executive branch employees.

Politico:

Majority Leader Harry Reid charged on Thursday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has "broken" his promises to consider President Barack Obama's executive branch nominations, as the Nevada Democrat prepared to move forward with the "nuclear option" to change Senate rules.

Reid filed cloture on a bloc of seven Obama nominees on Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for a potential vote on invoking the nuclear option on Tuesday. If Republicans continue to filibuster any or all of those presidential selections, the Nevada Democrat will force through his proposed rules change, he told reporters.

Reid's nuclear option comes in two parts. It would require a simple majority to change Senate rules, rather than the 67 now needed. And it would mean that a filibuster on an executive-branch nominees could be ended with only 51 votes, rather than the 60-vote threshold now in place.

(PHOTOS: Obama's second-term Cabinet)

McConnell made a counter-offer of allowing votes on some nominees, excluding those that Obama used recess appointments to put in place. It was not enough for Reid, who objected, continuing the Senate down the path toward a rule change by majority vote. But the full Senate plans to meet on Monday at 6 p.m. in the old Senate chamber, though McConnell questioned Democratic attendance at the Monday meeting. But Reid said his members will be there but it's unlikely to resolve the gap between the two parties.

"My friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader in the Senate ever," McConnell said. "It makes me sad."

McConnell's campaign Facebook page posted an image of a Reid tombstone with the words "Killed the Senate."

Following a 75-minute closed-door session with his Democratic colleagues, Reid signaled that he was ready to proceed with the nuclear option if the GOP didn't drop its objections to the Obama nominees, especially those for the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Board.

McConnell has a point about not confirming those NLRB appointees, whose recess appointments by Obama were declared unconstitutional by the appellate court. Why reward the president for an unconstitutional act? Make him withdraw those nominations and send up new ones.

I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but the GOP blocking other appointments - even to the hated Consumer Finance Protection Bureau - is simple obstructionism. There is a good tradition that a president should be able to name his own advisors (judges may be another matter but both sides have decided to block most judicial appointments). Like it or not, the president won the election of 2012 and should be able to appoint his own choices to run the government.

Reid is playing with fire by making it possible for a simple majority to change Senate rules. Some day, the GOP is going to be back in charge of the Senate and he will have no one but himself to blame when the Republicans change the rules to their advantage.

Death of the Senate? That body died long ago when members abandoned the idea of deliberation in favor of expediency. Reid is just covering the grave with dirt.







To the great delight of his rabid base, Senate Majority Harry Reid is about to conduct a vote that would change Senate rules, the effect of which would be to allow for a simple majority to confirm executive branch employees.

Politico:

Majority Leader Harry Reid charged on Thursday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has "broken" his promises to consider President Barack Obama's executive branch nominations, as the Nevada Democrat prepared to move forward with the "nuclear option" to change Senate rules.

Reid filed cloture on a bloc of seven Obama nominees on Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for a potential vote on invoking the nuclear option on Tuesday. If Republicans continue to filibuster any or all of those presidential selections, the Nevada Democrat will force through his proposed rules change, he told reporters.

Reid's nuclear option comes in two parts. It would require a simple majority to change Senate rules, rather than the 67 now needed. And it would mean that a filibuster on an executive-branch nominees could be ended with only 51 votes, rather than the 60-vote threshold now in place.

(PHOTOS: Obama's second-term Cabinet)

McConnell made a counter-offer of allowing votes on some nominees, excluding those that Obama used recess appointments to put in place. It was not enough for Reid, who objected, continuing the Senate down the path toward a rule change by majority vote. But the full Senate plans to meet on Monday at 6 p.m. in the old Senate chamber, though McConnell questioned Democratic attendance at the Monday meeting. But Reid said his members will be there but it's unlikely to resolve the gap between the two parties.

"My friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader in the Senate ever," McConnell said. "It makes me sad."

McConnell's campaign Facebook page posted an image of a Reid tombstone with the words "Killed the Senate."

Following a 75-minute closed-door session with his Democratic colleagues, Reid signaled that he was ready to proceed with the nuclear option if the GOP didn't drop its objections to the Obama nominees, especially those for the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Board.

McConnell has a point about not confirming those NLRB appointees, whose recess appointments by Obama were declared unconstitutional by the appellate court. Why reward the president for an unconstitutional act? Make him withdraw those nominations and send up new ones.

I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but the GOP blocking other appointments - even to the hated Consumer Finance Protection Bureau - is simple obstructionism. There is a good tradition that a president should be able to name his own advisors (judges may be another matter but both sides have decided to block most judicial appointments). Like it or not, the president won the election of 2012 and should be able to appoint his own choices to run the government.

Reid is playing with fire by making it possible for a simple majority to change Senate rules. Some day, the GOP is going to be back in charge of the Senate and he will have no one but himself to blame when the Republicans change the rules to their advantage.

Death of the Senate? That body died long ago when members abandoned the idea of deliberation in favor of expediency. Reid is just covering the grave with dirt.