Shortsighted Nuclear Damage
If you’re like me, and you’ve thought to yourself, “God, Harry Reid is a sniveling, little weasel,” wait ‘til you get a load of this…
The most powerful man in the Senate has been quietly laying the groundwork for something big. Something that would shift significant power away from senators over to Obama and his White House.
In fact, several Democratic sources claim that Reid is invoking what is referred to as “the nuclear option.”
The nuclear route has implications as dramatic as its name. What Reid is attempting would destroy the very institution of the United States Senate.
“Dad always used to say the only causes worth fighting for were the lost causes.”
That, of course, is a classic quote from James Stewart in the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recall Stewart playing a young, idealistic senator conducting a filibuster in an effort to stop a corrupt public works bill from passing. Of course, not all filibusters are that righteous.
Whatever the cause, though, filibusters do play a vital role in the nomination and legislative process. They give senators the ability to uphold their principles and employ the full extent of our checks and balances system.
But now Harry Reid is putting to vote a sneaky move for which he’s been rounding up support. He wants to limit the use of filibuster for executive branch nominations and have the ruling take effect as early as next week. And it seems he has enough support within the Democratic caucus to move forward.
Under current Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster. But Reid wants to change the rules. He wants a majority rule to overcome filibuster on legislation and nominations, meaning only 51 votes would be needed.
Some might look at this as just nine fewer votes – why is there cause for concern?
Well, in a Democrat-controlled Senate, nine fewer votes is about as significant a number as it gets. Presidential nominees would win their post on straight majority vote, and, well, you don’t need me to tell you how dramatic the implications are with that…
If the change passes, a massive power shift will swing in favor of the White House… That is, for the time being.
Playing With Fire
You see, Reid might be shooting his party in the foot come 2014. Reid’s strategy is dangerous, to say the least. He’s essentially teeing up Obama’s latest controversial appointees, who are coming up for vote next week.
Gina McCarthy: Obama’s newly-appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She faces opposition over her role in regulations that will curtail emissions from future power plants. This strategy won’t fly over well with Congress, who believe the method will slow economic growth.
Thomas Perez: Obama’s newly-appointed head of the Labor Department. Detractors say Perez made an unethical deal with city officials in St. Paul, Minnesota. They claim that the officials dropped out of a lawsuit against the city in exchange for Perez dropping his support for a Supreme Court case that had potential to harm racial discrimination law.
Richard Cordray: Obama’s appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You might recall Cordray from Obama’s recess appointments in January, which were ruled unconstitutional. Now his opposition claims they want an overhaul to the structure of the CFPB before confirming a nominee to run it.
But Reid’s efforts are shortsighted. He’s teeing up for 9 holes of golf when there are 18 to play…
As it stands, 2014 doesn’t look bright for Senate Democrats. And if the GOP regains control of the Senate (which I boldly declare will happen), conservatives will have a field day with the new voting format.
Think about it…
Through a majority vote, they too would be able to weaken the filibuster system. By further weakening the system, they’ll be able to aggressively advance the conservative agenda. That means, first and foremost, the full repeal of Obamacare.
While the thought makes me excited, Reid is playing a dangerous game with a vital procedure. Keep an eye out for a ruling coming in the very near future. And don’t forget to follow Capitol Hill Daily on our Facebook (FB) page, where we break news on rulings just like this all the time…
Your eyes on the Hill,