Last Thursday, I wrote a story detailing how Senate Republicans were going to ‘stick it’ to Senate majority Leader Harry Reid and the other Senate Democrats by utilizing all of the allowed debate time on each of the President’s pending nominations. This was their response and payback for Reid passing the so-called ‘nuclear option’, which prevents a 60-vote filibuster to block executive nominations from coming to the floor for a vote. Since Republicans are unable to block any of the President’s nominees for the sole purpose of obstructing him, they decided that they still need to exact some kind of punishment.
However, it appears that Reid has called their bluff and it isn’t making any of them very happy. The hope from Republicans was that Reid would just table some of the nominees and hold off until January after the Christmas break. This way, the GOP could at least look like they got a ‘win’ by forcing the President to wait a little longer to have many of his nominees confirmed and in place. Instead, Reid has pointedly stated that if the Republicans are going to debate each and every nominee for the maximum allowed time, then the Senate will stay in session until they get through the entire list.
Therefore, if the Republicans continue to go through with this, they could be stuck in Washington until late Sunday evening. This is causing them to gripe a bunch and do the one thing they do best: blame Democrats. Despite the fact that the only reason they may not be going home on Friday evening is their own obstructionism, they still feel like it is Reid’s fault since he didn’t fall for their ruse.
One argument coming from the Senate Republicans is that there isn’t any urgency to any of these nominees and that they can wait until the new year. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) had this to say regarding that:
“There is nothing urgent about any of them. They took away our right to influence the nominations so it’s up to them if they want to stay here until Sunday night.”
Essentially, Alexander is stating that Dems need to roll over and let us have our way while still allowing us to leave in time to get home for a long holiday rest. It just isn’t fair, dammit, that they are calling us on our bullsh*t!
Of course, among the remaining nominees are Janet Yellin for Chairman of the Federal Reserve, John Koskinen to head the IRS and Alejandro to be the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. While Alexander may not see the urgency behind these nominees or the positions they are supposed to fill, it would seem that most normal people feel that having the heads of both the Federal Reserve and IRS in place is somewhat important and shouldn’t wait because Republicans need to get home early for Christmas. Besides, the only reason they’ll have to wait around is due to an object of their own creation.
Most likely, something will be hashed out between Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday or Friday morning where the nominees will all be confirmed and Republicans will get a chance to make some kind of symbolic gesture. Perhaps they’ll let Rand Paul make a floor speech about his objection to Yellin and leave it at that. However, Reid has made it abundantly clear now that he will keep the Senate in session until all the nominees are confirmed. Republicans only have themselves to blame if they allow the debate to go on until Sunday night.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).