Senate Democrats plan to squeeze every last drop out of their majority, threatening to extend the lame duck to approve key nominees of President Barack Obama before turning over Senate control to Republicans in January.
If they hold their caucus together, Democrats can unilaterally prevail and approve Vivek Murthy to be surgeon general, Sarah Saldana to lead Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Carolyn Colvin to be Social Security administrator, as well as nine judicial nominees, nominees Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday his chamber will consider before the year ends.
But it could get messy given the controversy surrounding Murthy and Saldana — and could require overtime for lawmakers, including defeated or retiring ones who are eyeing the exits for good. Democrats may need all their members to stick around to win tough votes, including Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who lost her seat on Saturday and has missed all of this week’s votes so far.
“Maybe we’ll have to work the weekend and maybe even work next week. I know that’s tough duty for everybody, but we may have to do that,” Reid said when asked about the road ahead for approving the president’s team.
Hell hath no fury like an entitled senator scorned, however, few things terrify members of Congress more than the prospect of actually having to work. Once you start cutting into the vacation time it can get ugly.
Perhaps a spiteful exit by the Reid majority would steel the incoming majority leader’s spine. However this plays out, there aren’t likely to be a lot of congratulatory gifts handed out on the Hill next month.