POLITICS

Harry Reid On Nuclear Option: I 'Ate Sh*t' On Filibustered Obama Nominations

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 02:  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to reporters at a news conference at the Manda
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 02: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to reporters at a news conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center announcing MGM Resorts International's planned installation of the world's second largest rooftop solar photovoltaic array on July 2, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 6.2-megawatt array will use 20,000 solar panels to cover about 20 acres of the convention center's roof and will provide 20 percent of the resort's energy needs. It was also announced that the National Clean Energy Summit 6.0 will be held at the resort on August 13, 2013, and will focus on the future of clean energy. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) regrets waiting so long to push for filibuster reform in the Senate and allowing Republicans to hold up several Obama nominations -- and he didn't mince words about it earlier this week.

"I ate sh*t on some of those nominations," Reid said in a closed-door caucus meeting on Thursday, anonymous sources present at the meeting told Politico.

Reid recently began threatening to use a majority vote to prevent filibusters of White House agency and cabinet nominees (a move also known as the "nuclear option").

So far this year, several of Obama's second-term cabinet nominations have been stalled by Senate Republicans.

“This type of blanket, partisan obstruction used to be unheard-of,” Reid said on the Senate floor in May, according to the New York Times. “Now it has become an unacceptable pattern.”

Currently, Senate filibusters allow a minority to stall a vote on an issue until the other side forms a super-majority of 60 votes.

But even if Reid successfully goes for the nuclear option, Republicans will still be able to filibuster judicial nominations.


Senate insiders say that Democrats lack the votes to change the rules for judges, but agency nominees are an easier sell. The president was elected, goes the argument, and has earned the right to choose his own staff, free of a filibuster. If Republicans want to pick the White House staff, then they should win the election and occupy the White House, the argument concludes. Judges, on the other hand, are a separate branch of government and are appointed for life.

A study released by the Brennan Center for Justice earlier this month found that there are currently a record-breaking number of vacancies at district courts across the country.

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