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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

Bio

July 16, 2013 - 6:31 pm
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Republicans were more muted in their assessment of the agreement, insisting they got what they wanted by forcing Obama to withdraw his two NLRB nominees. Both were initially installed and were already serving on the board as recess appointments, which allowed them to serve until the end of the 113th Congress. But Republicans objected, maintaining the Senate wasn’t in recess when the appointments were made, rendering them unconstitutional, and they balked when Democrats tried to get them empaneled through a more traditional means.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, said he told Vice President Joe Biden some days ago that the withdrawal of the Griffin and Block nominations could result in a solution to what he called the “threatened blowup.”

“The 60-vote threshold on controversial nominees will still have to be achieved,” McConnell said. “So in a sense that’s the regular way that we handle business here in the Senate. And we’re pleased that the majority decided not to exercise the nuclear option. We think that’s in the best interests of the institution.”

Negotiations, McConnell said, led to “a constructive outcome and an opportunity to get back to normal.”

“So I think that crisis has been averted,” he said. “We still will be dealing with controversial nominees in the way controversial nominees inevitably produce — a great debate. And all the options that are available to the minority remain intact.”

Like Reid, McConnell said he hopes a new spirit will prevail in the upper chamber.

“I think I’m safe in saying a high level of collegiality on a bipartisan basis was achieved as a result of last night,” he said. “And you can pick at it if you want to but I think it was an important moment for the Senate.”

“Put this down as progress in the right direction and the best possible atmosphere to go into the balance of the year where we have much tougher issues to deal with down the road,” he said.

Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, the Senate Republican whip, expressed satisfaction that the administration would withdraw the NLRB nominations and that “the White House decided to take the nuclear trigger out of Sen. Reid’s hand.”

The chamber, Cornyn said, can now “pivot back to the people’s business and deal with the things that my constituents and I think people around the country are most concerned about” – issues like economic growth, unemployment and Obamacare.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a freshman who served as one of the most vocal advocates for deploying the nuclear option, nonetheless said he was pleased with Tuesday’s result, calling it “a significant moment in ending the deep freeze and putting us back onto a functional path to take on the challenges that America expects us to address.”

President Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney said the administration will be “glad to see a resolution that results in the speedy confirmation of the president’s qualified nominees to these positions that have been at issue.” He added that the White House was not involved in the negotiations.

“The White House provided information and answered questions when it came to working with Senate Republicans, including, of course, Sen. McCain, who, again, as I understand it, based on what we’ve seen, deserves significant credit for his efforts in trying to find a resolution here — a resolution that allows for hopefully the speedy confirmation of the president’s nominees,” Carney said.

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Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

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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.

39 weeks ago
39 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.
39 weeks ago
39 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'.
39 weeks ago
39 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?
39 weeks ago
39 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.
39 weeks ago
39 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.
39 weeks ago
39 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.
39 weeks ago
39 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/
39 weeks ago
39 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
39 weeks ago
39 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.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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