Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are negotiating a deal that would pass many important pieces of legislation and confirm as many non-controversial Obama nominees as possible before the end of the year.
The Hill reported,
The two party leaders, who have dueled for nearly a decade with Reid in the majority and McConnell in the minority, are about to flip positions.
But before they switch roles each man wants to craft a lame-duck agreement that allows his party to claim some small measure of victory at the end of what has been an otherwise dysfunctional legislative session.
McConnell wants to clear the agenda of several “must-pass” bills so the new Senate Republican majority can start 2015 with a clean slate.
He’s ready to work with Reid to pass bills that have been stalled for months — as long as Democrats don’t try to load up the December calendar with partisan legislation or controversial nominations.
Reid, with just a few weeks left in the majority, has priorities of his own. After a depressing election result, he wants to pass legislation to keep the government open; provide new funds for the fights against Ebola and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS); and confirm as many of President Obama’s nominees as possible.
The wrench that could be thrown into the works is that conservative Senators like Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are already throwing a fit about having to pass anything during the lame duck session. They want the ability to hold the president hostage over everything when the new Congress comes into session.
McConnell appears to understand that his tenure as Majority Leader could be very short if the Senate doesn’t pass legislation. The Kentucky Republican is trying to get thorny issues like a government funding bill, and Obama’s nominees off the table before the new Congress is sworn in.
There has been some Democratic angst about the Senate not ramming through a confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to be attorney general during the lame duck session, but the decision was made by the White House to not announce Loretta Lynch’s nomination until after the midterm elections. In order for the Senate to have enough time to complete confirmation process, the White House announcement would have had to have been made during the recess before the election.
If McConnell and Reid make their deal, the president is about to get a slew of nominees confirmed. Obama has thirty ambassador appointees waiting for Senate confirmation. Obama has hundreds of unconfirmed nominees. The vast majority of them are uncontroversial and have been tied up partisan Republican obstruction.
The president could finally be getting many of his nominees confirmed as having gotten what he wanted; Mitch McConnell is ready to free some of his political hostages.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association