Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., threatened Thursday, to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” as early as Tuesday, if Senate Republicans continued to filibuster seven of President Obama’s nominees.
“Republicans have turned advise and consent into deny and obstruct,” Reid said. “This gridlock is not only bad for the Senate, it’s bad for the country.”
Death of the Senate?
“This Pandora’s Box, once opened, will be utilized again and again by future majorities — and it will make the meaningful consensus-building that has served our nation so well a relic of the past,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor Thursday. “If we don’t pull back from the brink here, my friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever.”
Later, McConnell tweeted out an image of a tombstone with the message, “If Reid changes the rules to kill the filibuster, ‘Killed the Senate’ will be on his tombstone.”
The president deserves to have his team in place
Democrats took a less dire view of Reid’s move. “We want to break gridlock, and make Washington work for Americans,” Reid told the Washington Examiner‘s Tim Mak after Democratic caucus meeting where the filibuster rule change was discussed. “We’re not interested in cutting a deal to pass one or two or three nominees. The president deserves to have his team in place.”
But who is on the president’s “team”?
Senate Republicans appeared ready to grant Obama’s right to get an up or down vote for nominees to his own administration. McConnell indicated Thursday that Democrats already had the 60 votes needed for two of the nominees in question, Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez and Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy. But Reid did not limit the scope of his filibuster threat to executive branch nominees.
Reid also demanding votes for Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as four members of the National Labor Relations Board. Problem is, the CFPB and the NLRB are not part of the Executive Branch. Both agencies are supposedly independent federal agencies beyond direct political control of the president. From a constitutional separation of powers perspective, none of these nominees are part of Obama’s “team.”
“I don’t know how you open that door and not go to the next level. First, it’s executive nominations, next thing it’ll be judicial nominations, then it will be legislative filibusters,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune, told Politico. “The precedent they set here will be not only long-lasting but far-reaching.”
If Reid uses the nuclear option for Obama nominees to independent agencies, then the United States Senate will truly be dead.
From The Washington Examiner
Susan Ferrechio: House Republican immigration plan would provide legal status to kids
Susan Crabtree: McCain, Schumer — and even the White House — say they can work with House GOP on immigration reform
Conn Carroll interviews Rep. Tom Cotton, the new anti-amnesty leader in the House
Ashe Schow: 59 percent of Americans support 20-week abortion ban
Joel Gehrke: Nancy Pelosi claims Treasury didn’t delay the Obamacare employer mandate
Phil Klein: Rand Paul is not ready for prime time
Sean Higgins: AFL-CIO applauds DC council for ignoring Walmart ‘blackmail’ over wage law
In Other News
USA Today, Claims for unemployment benefits jump 16K: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits the week ended July 6 jumped a more-than-expected 16,000 to 360,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Pew Research Center, Public Esteem for Military Still High: Americans continue to hold the military in high regard, with more than three-quarters of U.S. adults (78 percent) saying that members of the armed services contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being.
The New York Times, House Republicans Push Through Farm Bill, Without Food Stamps: Republicans muscled a pared-back agriculture bill through the House on Thursday, stripping out the food stamp program to satisfy recalcitrant conservatives but losing what little Democratic support the bill had when it failed last month.
Pelosi tells TPM she can only support immigration reform that grants citizenship to all 11 million illegal immigbrants.
Alan Abramowitz and Ruy Teixeira argue that Republicans must do better among non-white Americans if they are going to have a good chance of winning the White House again.
Think Progress says solar power will soon be cheaper than coal.
Sean Trende responds to Abramowitz and Teixeira.
John McCormack catches Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards failing to explain the difference between late-term abortion and murder.
Paul Ryan says delaying the Obamacare mandates will help repeal Obamacare.
Ted Cruz says Republicans must defund the whole law.
Mark Krikorian says the Senate immigration bill would be a political disaster for the GOP.