Senate Republicans are prepared to force a middle-of-the-night vote on one of President Obama's judicial nominees in retaliation for Democrats invoking the so-called nuclear option to change Senate rules on presidential nominees.
Before Thanksgiving, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pushed a rule change intended to prevent the minority party from slowing the approval process for presidential appointments. The action was described as the nuclear option because Reid sidestepped Senate rules requiring a supermajority to change a rule and enacted a change on simple majority vote dominated by Democrats.
Republicans planned Wednesday to turn the Senate rules to their own advantage by insisting on using all of the available debate time on an Obama nominee, which would push the vote late into the night. A Senate GOP aide said similar actions are in the offing.
Reid "put all the wheels in motion. He created this structure," Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, of South Dakota, told the Washington Examiner.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was scheduled to take to the floor shortly after the Senate convened Wednesday afternoon and hold it for about an hour. Other Republicans will continue the debate late into Wednesday night, delaying a vote on Nina Pillard to the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals until 12:45 a.m. Thursday at the earliest.
That's when the 30 hours of debate time expires.