Reid prepares to light fuse of ‘nuclear option’ in Senate

by
July 15, 2013

Declaring that the country faces a presidential nominations crisis, the Senate’s top Democrat vowed Sunday to press ahead with showdown votes this week that could end up rewriting Senate rules to power through President Obama’s team, but also threatens to end the comity that is essential to the chamber’s operations.

Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said he wants to tweak the rules to stop Republicans from being able to filibuster when Mr. Obama nominates someone to fill an executive branch or independent agency job — though Mr. Reid would continue to allow filibusters for judges.

“The changes we’re making are very, very minimal. What we’re doing is saying, ‘Look, American people, shouldn’t President Obama have somebody working for him that he wants?’” Mr. Reid said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program as he defended the “nuclear option” to change the rules.

Under that scenario, Mr. Reid would use the Democrats’ majority in the chamber to overturn decades of precedent — which amounts to a rules change when it comes to parliamentary procedure — and establish that nonjudicial nominees are not debatable to the same degree as bills.

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