It's hard to tell when the Senate is actually getting ready to do something serious. But this may be one of those times. This morning, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell clashed on the Senate floor, with Reid threatening to change the filibuster rules, invoking the constitutional option to change the rules with just a majority vote. McConnell lamented that the greatest democracy on earth would be imperiled if a majority vote were enough to approve the president's nominees.
Harry Reid pointed out that Mitch McConnell is running afoul of the commitments he made not to filibuster the president's nominees except in extraordinary circumstances, and said that it raises the specter of the nuclear option:
"An agreement is a two-way street," Reid said, citing a McConnell promise to move ahead on nominations. "Those were his words. Those were his commitments. Those were his promises. By any objective standard, he has broken them."What you need to know about Harry Reid is that he is the Senate's best number cruncher. He would not have made this move if he didn't know he had the votes. Politico reports:
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.Will Reid do it? He's filed cloture on the president's nominees, and if the Republicans continue to filibuster them, I hope that he goes through with it. Enough of the obstruction and governmental paralysis. As for McConnell's argument that this will ruin the reputation of the Senate, has he checked this "reputation" lately? What's ruining the Senate's reputation is McConnell and his party's intransigence and disdain for democratic rule. Please, goodness, let's change that reputation.
“A couple people don’t like changing the rules, [but] we have the votes to move forward on this,” Reid told reporters following the Democratic Caucus meeting. [...]
“We’re headed to changing the rules,” added Sen Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a leading proponent of the filibuster reform movement. “I didn’t hear anybody speak against it.”
There are several Democrats still that are either voting no or are on the fence. But if Reid says he has the votes, he has the votes. The only way this doesn't happen is if Republicans decide to become reasonable and let the president's nominees through. I am almost hoping they keep up their obstruction so that Reid is forced to move. About time.
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