Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today moved to end Republican filibusters of seven of President Obama’s nominees to fill executive branch positions, including nominees for some of the agencies most despised by the GOP: Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Tom Perez for Secretary of Labor, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA and three nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.
The move presents an ultimatum for Senate Republicans: end their senseless obstruction or force Reid to change Senate rules to eliminate nominations filibusters.
In a memo this week, we laid out the statistics behind the GOP’s unprecedented obstruction of President Obama’s executive branch nominees. We found that if Republicans keep on obstructing Obama’s nominees at the current rate, they will have filibustered more executive branch nominees under Obama than under all previous presidents combined.
The Senate has had filibuster showdowns before – most notably in 2005, when a bipartisan group of senators agreed to let several extreme George W. Bush judicial nominees go through, including a number of the judges who now make up the influential D.C. Circuit's extraordinarily right-wing majority.
It was a compromise that left progressives cringing, but let Senate business move forward. But now Senate Republicans are acting like they’ve never heard the word “compromise.” According to Politico, Reid had some strong words on the situation:
In a closed-door caucus meeting Thursday, Reid began by apologizing to his colleagues for cutting bipartisan deals to avert the nuclear option, including at the beginning of this year. And the Nevada Democrat complained that he allowed votes on scores of conservative nominees under former President George W. Bush after a bipartisan coalition headed off the nuclear option in 2005. But Reid said it had been the right thing to do because Bush had won a second term in the White House.
Now, Reid argued, times have changed.
“I ate sh— on some of those nominees,” Reid told his colleagues, according to sources who were present.