Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2015

Procedural Madness Wednesday: A Nominee and the Nuclear Option

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fought Wednesday morning over when a vote should be held for a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, which isn’t uncommon C-SPAN2 fare. But this battle got particularly heated because it served as a proxy war over the filibuster — and Reid’s threat to go nuclear.

As my #WGDB partner and floor expert extraordinaire Niels Lesniewski has reported extensively, the threat of the “nuclear option” is growing as Democratic frustration over nominations mounts. Under the nuclear option, Reid would use parliamentary maneuvering to change the rules with a simple majority vote to eliminate the requirement for cloture on nominations.

McConnell, of course, is no fan of such a move. And in fairness, neither is Reid, at least historically. But on Wednesday, Reid had a bee in his bonnet and traded objections with his GOP counterpart over when to hold a vote on Sri Srinivasan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the under-manned D.C. Circuit Court.

“There has been a stall going on here in the Senate for years. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure it out. We’re being held up on nominations and legislation. President Obama has been trying to have the people he wants as part of his team for four and a half years. Multiple vacancies in the court. It’s all been reported out unanimously by the committee,” Reid said in one of two exchanges on Wednesday morning. “It’s all a stall. Let’s wait. Maybe they’ll be able to render a couple of opinions in the next few weeks.”

On the threatened changes specifically, Reid said: “I am not saying that we’re going to change the rules. But we have to do a better job of what’s going on around here.”

Meanwhile, McConnell tied the recent string of woes for the White House to a need to protect the longstanding Senate rules.

“The administration’s allies in the Senate are trying to intimidate their political opponents as well. What I’m talking about is the persistent threat by the majority to break the rules of the Senate in order to change the rules of the Senate—in other words, to use the nuclear option—if they don’t get their way,” McConnell said.

Of course, that’s the risk in going “nuclear,” as we say in the Senate biz. If Reid does make this move, he significantly reduces his options if the GOP takes back the majority, when it would be the Republicans getting “their way” without the tools to block them.

From Niels’ post Monday:

Reid plans a Senate test vote before the Memorial Day recess on the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Republicans are sure to oppose his confirmation, but they’ll contend that the pace of confirmation of many other nominees is going much more smoothly.

A post at the Monkey Cage blog by Sarah Binder of George Washington University and Brookings followed a post by Jonathan Bernstein at the Washington Post, starting an exchange worth following if you’re interested in the nuances of the “nuclear option.” Binder explained some of Reid’s procedural conundrum:

Over the years, several scenarios have been floated that give us a general outline of how the Senate could reform its cloture rule by majority vote. But a CRS report written in the heat of the failed GOP effort to go nuclear in 2005 points to the complications and uncertainties entailed in using a reform-by-ruling strategy to empower simple majorities to cut off debate on nominations. My sense is that using a nuclear option to restrict the reach of Rule 22 might not be as straight forward as many assume.

Comments (22)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Anonymous

    July 4, 2015
    3:57 a.m.

    You have brought up a very excellent points, thankyou for the post.

  2. Anonymous

    July 4, 2015
    10:29 a.m.

    This actually answered my problem, thank you!

  3. Anonymous

    July 6, 2015
    5:19 p.m.

    I haven?¦t checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I?¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

  4. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    3:52 p.m.

    I got what you mean , appreciate it for putting up.Woh I am lucky to find this website through google.

  5. Anonymous

    July 8, 2015
    1:26 a.m.

    hello!,I like your writing very much! share we communicate more about your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

  6. Anonymous

    July 11, 2015
    8:28 a.m.

    I was suggested this web site through my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written through him as no one else know such distinctive about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  7. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    3:04 p.m.

    I will immediately snatch your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please permit me recognize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  8. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    4 p.m.

    I love your writing style genuinely enjoying this web site.

  9. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    8 p.m.

    Appreciate it for this post, I am a big big fan of this site would like to proceed updated.

  10. Anonymous

    July 14, 2015
    1:42 a.m.

    I wish to point out my affection for your kind-heartedness for persons that must have help with the issue. Your very own dedication to getting the solution throughout turned out to be pretty advantageous and has all the time encouraged others like me to attain their ambitions. This invaluable report implies a great deal a person like me and substantially more to my colleagues. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.

  11. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    7:39 a.m.

    Hi there, just become aware of your weblog thru Google, and located that it is really informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I’ll be grateful should you proceed this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  12. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    8:03 a.m.

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired! Very useful information particularly the closing section :) I care for such information a lot. I used to be looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  13. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    9:01 a.m.

    Really clean website , thankyou for this post.

  14. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    2:44 p.m.

    Thank you, I have just been searching for information about this subject for a while and yours is the best I’ve found out so far. However, what about the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the supply?

  15. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    8:43 p.m.

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  16. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    3:03 a.m.

    You made some respectable points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most people will go together with with your website.

  17. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    7:35 p.m.

    I’d always want to be update on new content on this website , saved to favorites! .

  18. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    9:51 a.m.

    I’ve been surfing online greater than three hours today, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty value sufficient for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the net might be much more helpful than ever before.

  19. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    10:13 p.m.

    fantastic post.Ne’er knew this, regards for letting me know.

  20. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    8:19 a.m.

    What i don’t realize is in truth how you are no longer really a lot more well-favored than you may be right now. You’re so intelligent. You realize thus significantly in terms of this subject, made me in my view imagine it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved unless it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. At all times deal with it up!

  21. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    2:38 p.m.

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own web site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  22. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    5:12 p.m.

    I got what you mean ,saved to my bookmarks, very nice website .

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...