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Sen. Reid Backs Off Nuclear Option
Sen. Reid Backs Off Nuclear Option

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AIR DATE: July 17, 2013

GUEST

Karoun Demirjian, Washington Correspondent, Las Vegas Sun

BY MARIE ANDURSEWICZ -- The nuclear option has once again been averted – for now.

Ducking the nuclear option, in this case, means that Sen. Harry Reid won’t exercise his right to change Senate rules by majority in order to make sure seven of President Obama's nominees aren’t stalled by Republicans. A compromise was reached that assures that they will receive a vote without threat of filibuster.

“What this deal does basically is it gets all those nominees a vote in exchange for the Democrats promising that they won’t go ahead and undo the filibuster, and also promising that they will ask the President to come up with some new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board,” says Karoun Demirjian, Washington Correspondent for the Las Vegas Sun.

Demirjian says that Reid’s threat must have been an effective maneuver towards reaching the compromise, since he got what he wanted. But she adds that even though Sen. Reid was “talking tough” there may have been some doubt as to whether he would follow through – particularly among those who remember recent Senate history.

“Eight years ago when he was in the minority and Frist was threatening to do this, Reid was beating his chest and loudly calling on him not to, because it would upset minority rights,” says Demirjian.

Adding to the weight of Senator Reid’s threat is that he called a “live quorum” meaning he had the option to arrest Senators who didn’t show up for a meeting to discuss changes to the filibuster.

“He wanted to make sure that all 100 Senators were there before they went over to the old Senate chambers to deliberate behind closed doors,” says Demirjian. “He could have gone so far as to have the sergeant of arms be able to arrest Senators, to haul them back into the Capitol.”

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    COMMENTS:
    Thankfully, Harry Reid didn't foolishly turn the Senate into just another House. It was bad enough when the vote required to pass certain things went from 67 (i.e. 2/3) - per the wisdom of the Founders to have a body somewhat immune from the petty whims of meddling politicians - down to 60. Truly, some actions are just not meant to pass the Senate; indeed, that's the very purpose of the Senate!
    Tom HurstJul 17, 2013 08:42:44 AM
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