Countdown to the ‘constitutional option’ on Tuesday

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The U.S. Senate will hold a rare joint meeting in the Old Senate Chamber Monday evening, closed to the media, to frankly discuss their differences over the Senate Cloture (filibuster) Rules.

The Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, objected to tonight's meeting, asserting that the Honey Badger, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was trying to "sabotage" the get-together by scheduling it for a Monday night, when senators don't usually have to work. Seriously Dude? Are you guys ever working?

There are rumors of efforts to create yet another bipartisan “gang” to head off filibuster reform with a compromise, similar to the "gang of 14" when Republicans were considering the so-called "nuclear option" back in 2005. From what I have seen in the media today, it is a B.S. offer. No deal.

If senators fail to resolve their differences, Sen. Reid plans to move ahead with a key test vote Tuesday with the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and six other nominees to posts overseeing Wall Street, labor relations and the stewardship of the environment: Mark Pearce, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to serve on the National Labor Relations Board; Fred Hochberg to lead the U.S. Export-Import Bank; Thomas E. Perez to serve as labor secretary; and Gina McCarthy to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Reid has so far resisted GOP overtures to defuse the crisis by letting Cabinet-level
officials obtain up-or-down votes, while continuing to filibuster
“minor” positions like the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau and vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.

The Nuclear Option and the “New Nullification”:

Indeed, Reid has scheduled votes on CFPB and NLRB confirmations before
the Cabinet-level posts. And that’s precisely as it should be, not
because of pressure from “liberals” or “union bosses,” but because the
GOP tactic of shutting down agencies by denying them leadership or
membership is a new, radical departure that congressional scholar Thomas
Mann has accurately called “the new nullification.”

TNR’s Alec MacGillis has a good backgrounder today on the NLRB issue that makes the stakes of resisting the “new nullification” plain[.]

 * * *

This is use of the filibuster not to influence the president’s
appointments, but to sabotage whole agencies, or at least make them
hostage to demands that previously enacted laws they are charged with
administering be radically changed without going through the normal
legislative process. It’s a new and dangerous precedent McConnell and
company are setting
, and Reid’s right: it needs to be the first, not the
last, type of filibuster reform to be imposed by the “nuclear option”
if Republicans don’t back off.

We are on “nuclear alert” overnight in anticipation of Sen. Reid proceeding with the "constitutional option" to end the filibuster of executive department nominees tomorrow morning. The future of the Senate is in the balance.

UPDATE: C-SPAN reports Tuesday morning, No Filibuster Deal Reached, First Vote Set for 11am:

This morning on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced an 11am vote on a motion to proceed to the nomination of Richard Cordray to be the Head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also stated that negotiations continue on a compromise with the Republicans to avert the so called “nuclear option.”

Last night Senators met for three-and-one-half hours behind closed-doors to discuss the ‘nuclear option.’ No deal was reached during that meeting on changing Senate filibuster rules.

The New York Times editorializes today, "Democrats should proceed with banning the filibuster for executive-branch appointments." A
Step to Majority Rule in the Senate
.

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