Friday 22 November 2013

Nuclear Option

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed the "nuclear option" to reform the filibuster on Thursday.
The move would scrap the filibuster for executive and judicial nominations, but not legislation or Supreme Court nominees, as Reid signaled earlier this week, and the sources confirmed. He has discussed the matter with his leadership team and members.
"I'm not talking about changing anything dealing with the Supreme Court or dealing with basic legislation," he said Tuesday. "I am talking about executive nominations."
Reid has grown fed-up with Republican obstruction and has growing support within his conference to nuke the minority blocking tactic. He needs 50 Democratic votes to bypass the two-thirds majority required under regular order for a rules change. 
TPM: Harry Reid Pushes Historic Filibuster Rules Change, September 21, 2013
Reid, who spent 10 of his 26 years of Senate service in the minority, knows what it's like to have the 60-vote threshold as your only weapon against a steamrolling majority. And yet Reid and his fellow Democrats felt they'd been pushed to the brink. Republicans had blocked three nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rules on many federal regulatory matters. Democrats charged that the trio were blocked not because of their qualifications or legal views but because of unrelated policy disagreements, or because they don't want this particular court to work. On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Reid pointed out that half of the 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominees in American history have come during the Obama Administration. "These nominees deserve at least an up-or-down vote," Reid said. "But Republican filibusters deny them a fair vote and deny the president his team." 
The Atlantic: Why Harry Reid Went Nuclear, November 21, 2013 

[What's the nuclear option?]
And this is how Republican Representative Thomas Brackett Reed put an end to the disappearing quorum in 1890, more evocatively retold by Barbara W. Tuchman in The Proud Tower

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