Sometimes, Congress can be like one of those sleepovers you had when you were in middle school, where approximately twenty percent of the people invited were not well liked by the hosting girl, but were invited anyway so that, in the middle of the night, two or three head cheerleader types could rummage around in their overnight bags, steal their training bra and freeze it. And then someone’s mom would get called and someone else would have to write an apology note, and then the next year they’d do it all over again and bean you with a softball for good measure.
Not that that ever happened to me. I didn’t have friends. Anyway. Mitch McConnell “promised” a while ago to at least take a serious look at some of the nominees Barack Obama sent to the Senate. Harry Reid, the loyal opposition, vowed that if Mitch McConnell wasn’t completely serious about considering the nominees, that he’d introduce a “nuclear option” that allowed the Senate to bypass any Republican posturing, changing the rules to require only 51 votes to end a filibuster (rather than 60) and confirm the nominees with only 51 votes rather than the 67 (2/3 majority) now required.
And today, Harry Reid, good sir, had enough of your half-assed nominee considerations.
Majority Leader Harry Reid charged on Thursday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has “broken” his promises to consider President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominations, as the Nevada Democrat prepared to move forward with the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules.
Reid filed cloture on a bloc of seven Obama nominees on Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for a potential vote on invoking the nuclear option on Tuesday. If Republicans continue to filibuster any or all of those presidential selections, the Nevada Democrat will force through his proposed rules change, he told reporters.
Reid’s nuclear option comes in two parts. It would require a simple majority to change Senate rules, rather than the 67 now needed. And it would mean that a filibuster on an executive-branch nominees could be ended with only 51 votes, rather than the 60-vote threshold now in place.
The obvious problem here? The nuclear option is super awesome when you’re in power and can use it to force through your President’s nominees, as Democrats well know (but likely don’t remember because this is DC and it’s all blacked out by that last three day bender in the basement of Old Ebbits), from when Bill Frist tried to marshal the Republicans behind the “Nuclear Option” back when Democrats were holding strong on Bush’s judicial nominees. Frist ultimately decided against pulling the trigger because – get this – he was afraid of what would happen when Harry Reid eventually assumed control of the Senate. Harry Reid, apparently, seems not to have such high hopes for his opposition party’s return to power.
McConnell responded to Harry Reid’s threat to put his panties in the beer fridge by suggesting a compromise: Reid could have votes on some of his nominees if he’d give up on a handful that Obama used his power of recess appointment to put into place – specifically, the nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, who are up for Senate approval because if they remain in their non-approved positions any longer, the Executive Branch is going to be on the losing side of some embarrassing litigation. Harry Reid was not impressed. And that’s when the name-calling and hair-pulling started.
“My friend the majority leader is going to be remembered as the worst leader in the Senate ever,” McConnell said. “It makes me sad.”
McConnell’s campaign Facebook page posted an image of a Reid tombstone with the words “Killed the Senate.”
Harsh words from a harsh man. And you’d better believe that if the GOP ever defies Harry Reid’s expectations and re-takes the majority, payback is gonna be a bitch. Which, is essentially what Mitch McConnell is threatening.
The committee is set to meet again on Monday, though McConnell has noted that he doesn’t expect Reid’s clique to show up at cheerleading practice like they’re scheduled to. Reid has already threatened to be there and to be behind the bleachers after school on Friday for some bare-knuckle boxing. Fortunately, both men will likely be back in their districts by then because this is the summer and Congress doesn’t do any more work than it has to.