Meeting Where Senators Talked About Their Nuclear-Option Feelings Ends Without Deal
Nearly the entire Senate met behind closed doors last night for three hours to attempt to hash out their differences over the use of the filibuster on nominees and Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) threat to change the rules to require just a simply majority.
"So far we don't have a deal but there are talks continuing and it seems like we always have to go to the brink here in the United States Senate," said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). "...There was an offer by the majority leader last Saturday. Republicans sort of bounced that issue around. It's clear that they were there were going to be at least six Republicans to vote for it and the majority leader withdrew that offer. Those are just the bare facts."
"There are a lot of frustrations on both sides. Republicans are frustrated at this recess appointment of two NLRB members, and Mr. Cordray, when the Senate was not in recess, the fact the president was wrong on that has been upheld by a district court and now by the second highest court in the land. So we're very frustrated. We think it's an unconstitutional act," Wicker continued. "There are a lot of frustrations on both sides. Republicans are frustrated at this recess appointment of two NLRB members, and Mr. Cordray, when the Senate was not in recess, the fact the president was wrong on that has been upheld by a district court and now by the second highest court in the land. So we're very frustrated. We think it's an unconstitutional act."
Wicker noted that with four nominees rejected out of more than a thousand, President Obama is "batting .999 in getting his nominees through."
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) accused Republicans of using "every possible thing to prevent the president putting his team in place and getting simple up and down votes."
Merkley said senators were candidly expressing how they felt during the closed-door meeting.
"It was a very frank discussion, the type of discussion we don't have on the Senate floor, the type of listening that takes place between senators that we don't have in the modern Senate. It was valuable in that sense. I hope each side understands each other better," he said.
"I hope my Republican colleagues understand that they have pressed this to the brink. They have used the personal privilege to filibuster in such a systematic way that it's unacceptable and it's deeply disturbing to the American people who want to see us address the big issues facing America, and instead we have this petty partisan paralysis and it's unacceptable."
Joint caucus was constructive, respectful and deliberate. Didn't reach a deal, but I think we made progress understanding each other.
— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) July 16, 2013