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‘We Have a New Start’: Nuclear Option Threat Ends in Kumbaya Moment

McConnell says "a high level of collegiality on a bipartisan basis was achieved" after late-night understanding session — but will it last?

by
Bill Straub

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July 16, 2013 - 6:31 pm
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WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a last-second agreement on Tuesday that aborted the planned deployment of the so-called “nuclear option” but nothing was achieved that might block the controversial rules change from being implemented in the future.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, vowed to change Senate rules if GOP lawmakers continued to stand in the way of confirming President Obama’s nominees to key administration posts. Reid threatened to prohibit filibusters on White House choices, thus effectively changing the number of votes required for approval of a nominee from 60 to 51.

But after an extraordinary three-and-a-half hour closed-door meeting involving almost every member of the upper chamber on Monday evening, lawmakers reached a compromise eventually brokered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Republicans agreed not to block a vote to proceed on the confirmation of Richard Cordray to serve as the director of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. GOP lawmakers kept the commitment, with the Cordray nomination advancing to a final floor vote as the result of a 71-29 tally on Tuesday.

In addition, the GOP is expected to permit votes on Labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez, EPA nominee Gina McCarthy and Export-Import Bank nominee Fred Hochberg to proceed.

In exchange, Reid agreed to pull two White House nominees for the National Labor Relations Board, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block. Two alternative nominees — Nancy Schiffer, associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO, and Kent Hirozawa, chief counsel to NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston — are expected to take their place. Republicans have vowed not to filibuster those two choices and it’s expected they will be confirmed before the August recess.

Reid threatened to change the rules noting that Obama, in his fifth year in office, is still encountering problems getting his team together because of Republican obstruction. He expressed confidence that the agreement will mute such tactics and lead to a more cooperative atmosphere.

The purpose of the debate, Reid said, was to “restore the ability of the Senate to function.”

“I’m very encouraged by the discussions we’ve had over the last few days,” Reid said. “Both sides understand each other better. We’ve taken great strides to restore the comity and cooperation that used to define this great institution.”

The Senate, he said, “should be a place where we engage in spirited debate and get things done for the American people. So I’m hopeful and confident this agreement will prove a major step toward achieving that goal.”

But it’s also true there’s nothing in the agreement to prohibit Republicans from filibustering future nominees.

“They’re not sacrificing their right to filibuster and we damn sure aren’t filibustering our right to change the rules if necessary,” Reid said.

Regardless, Reid said he is looking ahead.

“Does that mean it will last forever? I don’t know about that,” he said. “But we have a good feeling with the Democrats and the Republicans. We have a new start for this body and I feel very comfortable with it. I couldn’t be happier.”

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Top Rated Comments   
So, the Republicans caved again.

They deserve to be consigned to the dustbin of history along with the Whigs.

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (14)
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"Reid threatened to change the rules noting that Obama, in his fifth year in office, is still encountering problems getting his team together because of Republican obstruction."

Hilarious!

Harry old son, did you really think that Senate confirmation is just a rubber-stamp on whatever the President wants? And that he should have an easier time of it now, because he's been President longer?

No. The purpose of Senate confirmation is to PREVENT the President from just doing whatever he wants. Checks and balances; remember them?

Alternatively, just consider how sad it would have been, Sen. Reid, if President GWB had had to fight Congress in 2007, after having been President for six years. Oh, wait...
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder if republicans in the House and Senate ever read these boards....I would guess "no", because they keep acting as if we're too stoopid to realize what they are doing. There are 10-12 posts outlining exactly what they are up to....hell, at least I know I'm not alone, anyway. What's fer supper, ya'll?

Remember BENGHAZI!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
As usual the Republicans bow to the Democrats, give them everything and in return get weaker. And they wonder why they are fading away.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
McConnell thinks he's won something eh? He should have reminded Harry 2014 is right around the corner - should Harry be worried about a Senate with at least 51 Senators with an (R) behind their name and no way for the minority party (that'd be you Harry!) to filibuster - and a House flush with newbie freshmen Congress-Critters? If he's half smart (something I dispute) he'll get McConnell's 'drift'.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I respect your reasoning, but you forget one thing....McConnell is just as scared of conservatives as "Little raging bull$h!t" Harry Reid is...McConnell would rather remain minority leader than see the TEA Party make serious inroads towards a majority, and that just makes me sick. Evidently, he has not accumulated enough wealth through chairmanships and board of director appointments from his big business "sponsors"....cannot upset THAT applecart by becoming a STATESMAN.

Remember BENGHAZI!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
---- WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a last-second agreement on Tuesday that aborted the planned deployment of the so-called “nuclear option” but nothing was achieved that might block the controversial rules change from being implemented in the future.

Well, lovely. So long as the professional politicians are happy, who are we to doubt them?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only had to read the first paragraph to find that McCain left his testicles in a drawer again.

John, is it fun walking around with "SUCKER" stamped on your forehead and a "KICK ME" sign on your back?

I'm sure Reid thinks it's hilarious.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
'New start'? No, we're back to the same-old same-old - Republicans cave in and get nothing, Democrats dance joyfully back to their chairs.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly - Harry got everything he wanted - and McConnell got nothing - unless you count a minute of favorable coverage by the MSM. It must be nice for him to feel the love - even if it is fleeting.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Precisely
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's be clear. This is all smoke and mirrors, and the Repubs are led by RINOS's who are incapable of behaving as a Conservative voice. The theater of the absurd may have some fooled, but many others aren't.
Bottom line: there is one party rule and this is a fact. Consider the fact that the Repub convention was a mirror image of the Demsters when it came to many issues, in particular, the catastrophic 'Arab Spring" which affects American foreign policy, in too many ways to count, as well as the infiltration/penetration of the Muslim Mafia into Washington - http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/29/republican-national-convention-heralds-arab-spring-in-its-platform-oblivious-to-the-unfolding-arabmuslim-nightmare-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/
In fact, the VERY same McCain championed Huma Abedin, Hill's Deputy COS, even though demonstrable proof, of her nexus/fealty to the Brotherhood Mafia, is a done deal. If anything, he should be in prison, alongside Abedin & Hill, for giving cover to their penetration. Ditto the POTUS, Holder and their surrogates!

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amazing how the political class will always protect themselves. “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”
― Thomas Jefferson
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps I'm missing something but it just seems that every since McConnell got slapped away from that pork table that allowed him to "bring home the bacon" for Kentuckians, he's pretty much been a sea of empty snake oil rhetoric.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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