Updated 4:44 p.m. | Senators led by John McCain and Majority Leader Harry Reid have defused the “nuclear option” that would have eliminated filibusters of executive nominations.
“We have a new start for this body. … I don’t know how I could be happier,” Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also blessed the deal as a good outcome for both sides that importantly avoided the nuclear option. ”We feel good about that. I think they feel good about it,” he said. He pronounced Monday night’s unusual senators-only listening session “critical” to getting an agreement.
Under the deal, McCain and other Republicans agreed to confirm two National Labor Relations Board replacements offered by the White House, presumably favorites of the labor movement. A senior administration official said President Barack Obama will nominate Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa, two labor lawyers. In addition, the replacement for Richard F. Griffin Jr., whose term would expire next year, would effectively be immunized from a filibuster at that point.