The clock is now ticking down on the ‘constitutional option’


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

After testy speeches today in which the Honey Badger, Harry Reid, sparred with the Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, over changing the rules of the Senate to allow up or down votes on executive nominations, Reid, McConnell spar on the Senate floor over filibuster, the die has now been cast for a showdown over the "constitutional option" to end Tea-Publican abuses of the Senate cloture rules aka the "filibuster" for executive nominations.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos reports, Reid tells Republicans to be reasonable or deal with the consequences:

Following the Senate Democratic caucus lunch, at which senators
discussed Majority Leader Harry Reid's intent to file cloture on a
number of President Obama's executive nominees, the leadership held a
press conference. Reid reiterated his willingness to go forward with the
challenge to Republicans to either approve all of these nominees or
he'll enact the constitutional option, changing the Senate rules on
filibuster with a simple majority vote. He reiterated that Senate rules
had been changed 18 times in the last 36 years, defusing the idea that
this move would mean the end of the Senate, as Republicans have
hyperbolically been suggesting
. [McConnell speech this morning]

He put the onus
directly on Republicans: if they approve the seven nominees he's
putting forward, he'll back off. Those nominees include Gina McCarthy at
EPA, Thomas Perez at Labor, which McConnell has suggested he'd allow.
But they also include the nominees McConnell has called "unlawful";
Richard Cordray at the CFBP and the members of the National Labor
Relations Board. By announcing that he'll file for cloture on all of
these nominees, Reid's given the Republicans a deadline of next Tuesday
to decide what they're going to do.

As he said in the press conference, "if they're not willing to be reasonable, we know where we're headed."

Reid seems ready. Coming out of the caucus lunch, Sen. Tom Udall said that they'd be ready to have
Vice President Joe Biden available to provide the 51st vote. But it
would be better to do it with the caucus of senators. Reports are that
Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jack Reed (D-RI) are on the fence.

* * *

In the next five days, Harry Reid and the reformers in the caucus—Jeff
Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM)—have to convince 50 of the remaining
senators in the Democratic caucus that it's time to do something about
that, and that they can't be content to just deal with Republicans to
allow a few nominees in and call that an acceptable outcome. In the next
five days, Democratic senators have to hear from their constituents
that this would not be an acceptable outcome.

Talking Points Memo adds, Reid Files Cloture On 7 Executive Nominees:

Reid made clear his ultimatum was about these executive nominees,
rather than judges, and suggested he'll back off his rules change threat
if Republicans let all of the seven picks come to up-or-down votes.

Asked what he'll do if Republicans block three or four of the
nominees, Reid said, "I'm going to go to the floor Tuesday and do what I
need to do so that this doesn't happen anymore

The clock is now ticking down on the "constitutional option." Normally I would tell you to contact your senators, but here in Arizona we have GOP ideologues who will do whatever the Septegenarian Ninja Turtle tells them to do. They are part of the problem, not the solution. You may want to contact any waivering Democrats who worry more about the traditions of the Senate than they do the dictates of the Constitution or good governance.


  1. Wait a minute, it took Reid almost 5 years to figure out that the Republicans are obstructionists and that he can stop their games?

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