Senate leaders exchanged fire on Thursday as Democrats headed behind closed doors to make a decision on whether to trigger the "nuclear option."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday warned the "nuclear option" would be the "end of the Senate" and accused Democrats of creating a "phony crisis" to move through President Obama's nominees.
Changing Senate rules through a majority vote "would violate every protection of minority rights that have defined the United States Senate for as long as anyone can remember," McConnell said.
“This Pandora’s Box, once opened, will be utilized again and again by future majorities — and it will make the meaningful consensus-building that has served our nation so well a relic of the past," McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Democrats in 2005 on the 'nuclear option'
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Republicans have broken their promise, made earlier this year, to work with Democrats on Obama’s second-term Cabinet nominees.
“Republicans have turned advise and consent into deny and obstruct,” Reid said. “This gridlock is not only bad for the Senate, it’s bad for the country.”
Reid said he planned to file cloture on some of Obama’s nominees later Thursday, setting up a final showdown next week.
Liberal groups and labor unions are pushing Reid to change Senate rules on presidential appointments, arguing a limit on the use of the filibuster is needed to counter Republican obstruction.
Reid and McConnell spar.
Harry Reid- No nuclear option as long as he is the leader.
Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the problem in the Senate.
Senate Republicans say the move would trigger a meltdown in relations and trample the rights of the minority.
The issue is coming to a head on Thursday at a meeting of Senate Democrats where they plan to make a decision about whether to "go nuclear."
Republicans on Thursday seemed to make an attempt to lower the temperature and dissuade Reid from changing the rules.
McConnell said Republicans would not prevent two of Obama’s nominations — Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy and Labor Department nominee Tom Perez — from moving forward.
“Both of these highly controversial nominees already have enough votes to clear a 60-vote hurdle,” McConnell said.
And Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) suggested to Reid that the parties hold a joint caucus lunch next week to try and resolve their differences.
Read the rest at 'The Hill"
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