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Why Harry Reid had to take a Senate vote to eliminate the 60 vote threshold in order to confirm presidential nominees.....
With enough creativity, Senate Republicans discovered that the filibuster could not simply prevent new laws from being enacted, it could also be used to effectively repeal laws protecting workers and regulating Wall Street. By refusing to confirm nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench, they could also ensure that some of the nation’s most powerful courts remained in Republican hands. And looming over all of this is the next Supreme Court vacancy. If Senate Republicans will use the filibuster today to keep their grip on the nation’s second most powerful court, imagine what they’ll do if a justice retires.
As I've been telling readers here for...ever.....Republicans don't simply have policy differences with Democrats. Republicans have become the new nullificationists. The new Confederates.....refusing to allow the majority to govern, period. That is why Democrats in the Senate voted yesterday 52-48 to eliminate the 60 vote threshold in the Senate to proceed to a vote on presidential nominees, excluding Supreme Court nominees.
The vote yesterday in the Senate was deemed the "nuclear option" because the vote would allegedly blow up any comity left in the Senate. But that definition is not quite accurate. The vote yesterday was not the nuclear option......what Republicans plan to do in the future as a result of Democrats changing Senate rules by a majority vote.....that's the true nuclear option. Mitch McConnell alluded to this back in June....
"There is no doubt in my mind that if the majority breaks the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate with regard to nominations, the next majority will do it for everything,".....said Mitch McConnell in June of this year when Harry Reid was considering ending GOP filibuster obstruction in the Senate.
McConnell illustrated his threat saying that with new voting rules a Republican-led Senate would immediately repeal Obamacare, lift the ban on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, and repeal the estate tax.
See how that works? If Democrats stop Republicans from filibustering Obama nominees by changing the threshold vote for stopping a final up or down vote on those nominees...then should Republicans ever gain a Senate majority, Republicans will eliminate the 60 vote filibuster threshold....."for everything." That's the nuclear part of the nuclear option. And it's also a clear reminder of the double standard under which Democrats and Republicans operate under in Congress.
“I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you’ll regret this. And you may regret it a lot sooner than you think,” he added.
Mitch McConnell has a habit of issuing threats. That's what one would expect from the highest ranking GOP authoritarian. Remember when Mitch threatened all professional sports teams if they participated in promoting Obamacare? McConnell told sports league owners that they had a pretty nice operation going and they wouldn't want to damage their brand by identifying with a national program that helps Americans gain access to health insurance. 'Nice pro-sports league you got there, sure wouldn't want anything to happen to it.'
Brainiac Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) fleshed out who will split the atoms in the Senate and how they'll go about it....
“So if the Democrats are bent on changing the rules, then I say go ahead,” he said. “There are a lot more Scalias and [Clarence] Thomases that we’d love to put on the bench. The nominees we’d nominate and put on the bench with 51 votes would interpret the constitution as it was written.”
Again, see how that works? Democrats change the filibuster vote-count rule for ONLY non-Supreme Court presidential nominees....and that will result in (should Republicans ever regain 51 votes in the Senate) Republicans ending the 60 vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees. Here again, what Democrats did yesterday wasn't explosive, it was essential to a functioning chamber of constitutional government......it's the GOP payback, should they regain Senate control, which will send dangerous radioactive fallout over the nation's citizenry.
Finally, on this topic....I would be remiss if I didn't include the view from the Village over Senate Democrats forcing Republicans to go nuclear on the country in the future....here's the "liberal" NBC News....
Following an ugly government shutdown fight that sent approval of Congress to new lows, Thursday’s vote effectively doubles-down on the brand of scorched-earth politics that have fueled public disgust toward Washington.
The minority GOP forces the government to shut down in a tantrum fit of stupidity. That shut down results in plummeting approval numbers for Congress. The anti-government Republicans produced the anti-government sentiment in the country that they sought to create by shutting down government.
Now, you see, Democrats have "doubled down" on the GOP's "scorched earth politics" by eliminating one of the GOP's most effective ......ummm....."scorched earth policies." And, somehow, stopping the GOP "scorched earth" filibuster policy......and enabling a more functional Senate.....will further "fuel public disgust" in government......government that Republicans hate. One can always count on the Goldilocks Villagers for "both sides do it" psycho-babble.
Good on Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate. I did not think they had it in them.