Policy: Environment & Energy

Republican Senate candidates look to capitalize on Harry Reid's 'nuclear option'

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Senate,Republican Party,Harry Reid,Campaigns,PennAve,Economy,Rebecca Berg,Filibuster,Energy and Environment,Nuclear Option

Sen. Jerry Moran, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, warned roughly 500 of the committee's top donors Monday that recent changes to the Senate's filibuster rules could hurt the economy and threaten energy and financial services sectors in particular.

The changes, spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., were designed to allow the majority party to advance most presidential nominations more quickly by barring the use of filibusters. Reid pursued the shift, colloquially referred to as the "nuclear option," to contend with Republicans trying to hold up or block nominations.

But Republicans fear that Democrats will abuse the rule change to fill the courts and federal departments and agencies with advocates who would push further regulations, as Moran, R-Kan., told party donors Monday.

"Make no mistake, the energy and financial services industries are likely to feel the brunt of this change with more regulation, bureaucracy and government intervention," Moran wrote. "This 'nuclear option' could very well hurt these industries and our economy."

Moran's remarks indicate that Republicans will latch onto the rule change to help persuade the party's elite to support the GOP's bid to take back the Senate. Republicans have threatened in the aftermath of the change to retaliate against Democrats should the GOP retake control of the Senate in the coming mid-term elections cycle.

Republicans have a path to securing a majority in the Senate, but they face considerable challenges, including in raising money. The NRSC has so far lagged considerably behind its Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, in fundraising.

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