Politics Magazine

Reid Stands Firm And GOP Backs Down

Posted on the 17 July 2013 by Jobsanger
Reid Stands Firm And GOP Backs Down (The image above is from the website of The Huffington Post.)
The Senate Republicans have been holding up several of President Obama's nominations for critical government jobs by filibustering the nominations -- some for as much as two years. A couple of days ago, I posted that Majority Leader Harry Reid had gotten his fill of this and decided to do something about it.He publicly told those GOP senators that if they continued to filibuster those nominations, he would initiate the "nuclear option" (change the rules to allow killing a filibuster on nominations with only 51 votes).
The Republicans fumed and howled at Reid's threat, but then they realized he meant it (and had the votes lined up to actually do it) -- and they backed down. After a closed-door meeting of the entire Senate on Monday night, the GOP gave in and said they would allow floor votes on the nominations. And on Tuesday, they allowed a vote on the first nomination -- the nomination of Richard Cordray to be the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial protection (the nomination they had held up the longest).
And Cordray's nomination was approved by the Senate on a 66 to 34 vote. That means 12 Republicans joined 52 Democrats and 2 Independents to approve Mr. Cordray. That vote shows that not all Republicans were opposed to Cordray's nomination. They were just holding it up to hurt the president as much as they could. Those 12 Republicans (or even just half of them) could have ended the filibuster long ago.
Now the rest of those nominations will come up for a vote in the next few Senate business days. And Reid has not backed off his threat. He wants votes on all of them, and is still willing to pull the trigger on the "nuclear option" if necessary.
Republicans are trying to frame this as a win for them -- since the president pulled two of his nominees (Richard Griffin, Jr. and Sharon Block) and replaced them with two more nominees (Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa). Reid has been assured by the GOP that the new nominees will also get a vote. The truth is that Reid went eyeball-to-eyeball with the GOP, and they blinked.
For once, I am proud of Harry Reid. I hope he can continue to find a use for his new backbone.

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