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Republicans trigger ‘nuclear option’ to speed Trump nominees


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Senate Republicans used the “nuclear option” Wednesday to unilaterally reduce debate time on most presidential nominees, the latest in a series of changes to the fabric of the Senate to dilute the power of the minority.

The move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately paves the way for quicker confirmation of President Donald Trump’s judicial and executive branch picks and comes amid deep GOP frustration with Democratic delays. Future presidents will benefit too, though McConnell and Trump stand to gain inordinately as they seek to fill 130 District Court vacancies over the next 18 months before the 2020 election.

The nuclear option — a change of the Senate rules by a simple majority — gained its name because it was seen as an explosive maneuver that would leave political fallout for some time to come. But it’s now been deployed three times in just six years amid continuous partisan warfare over nominations.

McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer engaged in an ugly round of recriminations ahead of the rules change, barely able to make eye contact as they groused at each other.

Schumer asserted that he was "so sorry that my Republican colleagues have gone along with Sen. McConnell's debasement of the Senate." The New York Democrat called the change "disgraceful" and said it was a "sad day in the Senate's history."

McConnell absorbed the criticism, cracking a smile at times as Schumer castigated him. Then he stood up and said Schumer was responsible for the quagmire, having launched filibusters of President George W. Bush's nominees.

"He started this whole thing," McConnell said, pointing at Schumer. "This is not a sad day. This is a glad day."


Time to finally fill those jobs...

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Estrada’s revenge

Scott Johnson

Apr. 3 2019

Largely as a result of unprecedented Democratic obstructionism in the United States Senate, President Trump has yet to staff many executive positions in his administration or fill many judicial vacancies. This afternoon comes word that the Republican majority has finally altered Senate rules to reduce debate time on most presidential nominees by reducing post-cloture debate. They have done so by exercising what the media refer to as the “nuclear option” — what should probably be known as the Harry Reid option — under which a Senate majority changes the Senate rules.


Who deserves the most credit for the change? One explanation you are guaranteed never to find on CNN, MSNBC, or in the newspapers they follow is the one advanced by Senator Tom Cotton with characteristically meticulous scholarship. In the video below, Senator Cotton recalls some ancient history relevant to this particular change (below). Whether we need go back quite this far, the credit certainly belongs to the man Senator Cotton singles out. Thank you, Senator Cotton.




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