Harry Reid’s Nuclear Countdown
It appears that Republicans have blocked their last judicial nominee and Harry Reid is now ready to employ the nuclear option.
Via Greg Sargent:
Senator Harry Reid appears set to go nuclear — before Thanksgiving.
With Senate Republicans blocking a third Obama nomination to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me Reid is now all but certain to move to change the Senate rules by simple majority — doing away with the filibuster on executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court – as early as this week.
At a presser today, Reid told reporters he was taking another look at rules reform, but didn’t give a timeline. The senior leadership aide goes further, saying it’s hard to envision circumstances under which Reid doesn’t act.
“Reid has become personally invested in the idea that Dems have no choice other than to change the rules if the Senate is going to remain a viable and functioning institution,” the aide says. That’s a long journey from where Reid was only 10 months ago, when he agreed to a toothless filibuster reform deal out of a real reluctance to change the rules by simple majority. Asked to explain the evolution, the aide said: “It’s been a long process. But this is the only thing we can do to keep the Senate performing its basic duties.”
Republicans have left Reid no choice. To do nothing is to accept limits on Obama’s presidency unlike that of any previous president. Reid has to act or concede that elections have no consequences…when a Democrat wins.
Jonathan Chait has a good piece on the history of the nuclear option.