User:Sarah Rosier/Senate votes to change confirmation rules

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July 16, 2013

By Sarah Rosier

Harry Reid.jpg

On July 15, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would ask the Senate to change the rules through a July 16 vote that would ban filibusters for executive appointments. Many are calling a possible rule change Reid's nuclear option. [1]

This came after Republican senators were refusing confirmation for President Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) appointments. A Supreme Court ruling is likely in 2014 regarding the legality of recess and interim appointments by Obama that have since been declared unconstitutional by lower courts.[2]

The rule change would affect only executive branch nominations, not judicial nominees. Instead of requiring 60 senators' approval of a presidential nominee, a simple majority (51) would allow an appointment to be confirmed.[3]

During a Monday night bipartisan, closed-door meeting with 98 senators was held to try to resolve the gridlock without a rules change. According to Reid, "We've had a very good conversation." Around 36 senators spoke during the meeting with Reid speaking first, followed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL).[4]

Tuesday morning, when calling for a vote on CFPB nominee Richard Cordray, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) thanked his fellow members for their effort the night before at the meeting. Reid spoke following McCain, personally thanking McCain for his leadership during the meeting. As of Tuesday morning, there was no further word from Reid on a possible rules change.[4]

According to a Politico report, the nuclear option could be avoided. Aides to Reid and McConnell worked through the night on Monday and Senate Democrats now believe they will have the 60 necessary votes to confirm Cordray.[5]

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