As most of you know by now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally went “nuclear” on the Senate yesterday. What that basically means is that to proceed with judicial or executive nominees (with the exception of nominees to the Supreme Court), which Republicans have blocked at a record pace since President Obama became the president, the Senate will now only need 51 votes to confirm a nominee instead of the 60 previously required.
Was this an ideal move? Absolutely not. It opens the door for a possible Republican-controlled Senate in the future to ram through whatever radical right-wing appointee they want.
But after 4 years of record setting filibusters by Senate Republicans, Harry Reid simply had enough. He changed the rules which will help Democrats bypass blatant Republican obstruction to actually — gasp — get something done.
And of course, Republicans are “outraged.” But they only have themselves to blame. For quite a while now this was looming, and they knew Reid had the power to do it. If anything, he should have done this long ago. Instead, he kept status quo in a futile effort hoping Republicans might actually just grow the hell up.
Now they’re acting like children who finally got punished for acting like a bunch of spoiled brats who wouldn’t behave.
Ironically, this “nuclear” option doesn’t even come close to the ridiculousness the Republican majority pulls in the House of Representatives.
As it stands now, Speaker Boehner almost always invokes the “Hastert Rule.” What that means is that even if the Senate sends the House a bill, which would pass if allowed to come up for a vote, John Boehner won’t allow the House to vote on the bill unless the majority of the majority supports it.
Meaning, as it stands now, unless a majority of Republicans in the House support a bill—Boehner won’t allow it to come up for a vote.
For a great example of this, look no further than our recent government shutdown. The Senate sent a clean continuing resolution that would have kept the government open, and there were more than enough Republicans that would have sided with Democrats for it to pass the House, but a “majority of the majority” didn’t support it — so Boehner never allowed it to come up for a vote.
The same goes for the immigration reform the Senate sent to the House months ago, but Boehner never allowed it to come up for a vote.
So spare me this “outrage” by Republicans because Harry Reid gave them 4 years to act like adults and they simply chose to continue to act like spoiled children who didn’t get their way.
There’s always going to be some level of partisan gamesmanship as it relates to the minority party in the Senate with filibusters, but Republicans took it to a whole other level. And for years, Democrats sat back and allowed them to play these kinds of childish games.
Four years Republicans were allowed to play their partisan politics to a point where Harry Reid, as well as almost every other Democrat and much of the country as a whole, was simply fed up.
Senate debate should be about the quality of nomination, not because Republicans don’t want more Democratic judges.
This Senate obstruction has just been one of many examples where Republicans ignore the results of elections and demand to do things their way.
However, like I said before, this “outrage” Republicans are faking all over the right-wing media airways is absurd. The crap House Republicans have been pulling since 2010 — things like blocking votes on bills that would pass simply because a majority of House Republicans oppose it — is far more outrageous than anything Harry Reid has done in the Senate.
But at the end of the day, Republicans only have themselves to blame. For years Harry Reid could have done this but chose not to, hoping Republicans might one day act like adults. They didn’t. In fact, they’ve acted even more ridiculous as time went on.
What this “nuclear option” really comes down to is this: the majority of the Senate will be enough to confirm judicial or executive nominees. That’s it.
Votes will still require a majority vote. Unlike the Republican-controlled House that requires a majority of the majority.
So if you really want to talk about ridiculous, outrageous and absurd — it starts in the House of Representatives and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
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