The Hill has a big story on how Sen. Harry Reid is agonizing over the extremely difficult choice confronting him: whether to trigger the so-called “nuclear option” that would effectively kill the filibuster and minority rights in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces one of the biggest decisions of his career this month as he heads for a showdown with Republicans on President Obama’s stalled nominees.
The Nevada Democrat must decide whether to trigger a controversial tactic known as the nuclear option to strip from Republicans the power to endlessly debate presidential nominees.
The maneuver entails changing the Senate’s rules with a simple majority vote, instead of clearing the 67-vote threshold required under the standing rules.
The proximate cause is nominations to federal positions. Republicans have approved more than 1,500 of Obama’s nominees but are holding up a handful of the most controversial ones, such as the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The NLRB under Obama has become a radical tool in the firm grip of Big Labor. The CFPB is a new creature spawned in the ill-advised Dodd-Frank legislation. The nation is just fine without either one operating at full capacity.
The Hill’s article reads like ground prep. Reid and the Democrats are building the case that, because the Republicans won’t rubber-stamp the likes of Tom Perez into power, the Democrats will blow up the Senate’s standing rules to force the nominees through.
The actual cause is that the Democrats want one-party rule by fiat. Obama has tested the waters on that front several times, both by issuing recess appointments when Congress was not even in recess, and most recently by declaring that ObamaCare’s employer mandate will not be enforced when the law he signed requires it, on January 1, 2014. That move was entirely political, to avoid the pain that enforcement would inflict during the 2014 mid-term elections. It was also flagrantly illegal, as the language of the law leaves no room for this maneuver. The Republican-controlled House is investigating, but of course the Democrat-controlled Senate doesn’t care. Congress in control of either party once defended its institutional powers, but under Reid, the Senate puts the Democratic Party’s prerogatives above all.
The fact is, Obama will get away with altering ObamaCare by fiat. In the process, he will have come as close as any president we have ever had to dispensing with the rule of law altogether. He and Reid are pushing America into a post-republican phase in which the presidency wields vast authority to re-write laws without input from Congress. Soon he will be decreeing laws out of thin air. Democrats love the power now, but may come to regret their expediency when a Republican president comes into office and simply writes ObamaCare and perhaps other cherished Democrat policies and agencies away with the stroke of a pen.
Yes, they have already thought of that possibility. That’s why they’re pushing for an immigration bill without enforcement, which would create enough new undocumented Democratic voters to give them a generational lock on power.