Politico.com calls it “the nuclear option.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that he was proposing a historic change to Senate rules that would get rid of the filibuster for most presidential nominations.
“It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete,” Reid said in a lengthy floor speech on Thursday morning.
The changes Reid proposed would get rid of filibusters on most judicial and executive branch nominees, but preserve the filibuster for Supreme Court picks. Reid is prepared to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” – which would change the rules by a simple majority vote, instead of 67 votes, according to leadership aides.
“These nominees deserve at least an up or down vote, yes or no,” Reid said. “But Republican filibusters deny them a fair vote, any vote, and deny the president his team.”
Underscoring the historic nature of the Reid’s threat, nearly all 100 senators were seated at their desks in the chamber — a rare sight, particularly when the Senate opens in the morning for business.
My initial reaction is that this is good news. Harry Reid is being extremely short-sighted. The “nuclear option” will hand the Senate majority more power. We just need to win the majority as soon as possible.
There is no backing out of this. If the Republicans give in to Harry Reid they will be effectively giving him the same power he would have if he changed the rules. So what would possibly be the gain of giving the Democrats what they want? At that point, the present rules would become a fiction. Any time the Republican filibustered a nominee the Democrats would know that they could threaten to change the rules and get a vote. So the result would be exactly the same as if the rules were changed.
So go ahead and change them! Then let’s point out that only Democrats voted for these appointments. The Republicans are guiltless.
Even though the rule change is new, Harry Reid’s attitude is exactly the same as it was in the passing of Obamacare. The Democrats shoved it through so fast that they cut corners. They didn’t want Republican win in the Senate tampering with their agenda. Even apart from its unconstitutional overreach, the result was a shoddy bill that, even its proponents admit, needs a lot of fixing.
Just like the concentration of power in the executive has backfired on conservatives, the concentration of power in the Senate Majority is something the Democrats will live to regret. I hope they do it.