The Democrats’ Threat to ‘Go Nuclear’

100817_obama_reid_ap_605Yesterday, in an angry speech given on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) warned he would go “nuclear” and change the Senate rules in order to end filibusters on President Obama’s executive branch nominations. “Senator [Mitch] McConnell broke his word,” Reid fumed. “The Republican leader has failed to live up to his commitments. He’s failed to do what he said he would do–move nominations by regular order except in extraordinary circumstances. I refuse to unilaterally surrender my right to respond to this breach of faith.” Reid can sanctimoniously frame this effort any way he wants, but his real agenda is to dramatically shift power to the executive office, a move that President Obama is anxious to exploit to impose his radical policies through bureaucratic means.

Invoking the nuclear option would be a two-step process. First, Reid would push through the rule change itself with a simple majority, instead of the 67 votes it currently requires. After that, ending a filibuster would only take a 51-vote majority, rather than the current 60-vote threshold. During his speech, Reid cited Republican efforts to delay the nominations of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and CIA Director John Brennan. Republicans have promise to filibuster Richard Cordray, along with other nominees for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), unless Democrats are willing to limit the power of that agency. “It is a disturbing trend when Republicans are willing to block executive branch nominees even if they have no objection about the qualification of the nominee,” Reid said. “They’re blocking qualified nominees because they refuse to accept the law of the land.”

The law of the land is a slippery term when it comes to Democrats in general and this administration in particular. In January 2012, President Obama attempted to implement an unprecedented use of recess appointment powers to install people at the CFPB and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), despite the reality that the Senate was not in recess at the time. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against the president, calling the move unconstitutional. On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear the case, National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, which will determine the scope of executive recess appointment power. If the Court rules in favor of the president, it would essentially eviscerate the Senate’s role in vetting presidential nominees.

But Reid is threatening to eviscerate this power of the Senate himself by curtailing the ability of minority members to conduct filibusters. Yesterday he emerged from a closed-door meeting with the Democratic Caucus and reiterated his threat, warning the GOP to drop its objections to the president’s appointments for both the NLRB and the CFPB. “[W]e have the votes to move forward on this,” Reid told reporters.

Maybe not. As of now, Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mark Pryor (D-AK) refuse to go along with the idea, while Sens. Patrick Leahy (I-VT)), Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jack Reed (D-RI) remain undecided. Since Democrats have 54 senators, such defections could scuttle Reid’s plans. In the event of a 50-50 tie, Vice President Joe Biden gets to cast the tie-breaking vote. Biden has indicated he would side with Reid.

The roster of pending nominations include three individuals for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, five for the NLRB, three for CFPB (including Cordray), Labor Secretary nominee Tom Perez and EPA nominee Gina McCarthy. “I’m going to start the process today,” Reid said Thursday. “We’re going to file cloture on a bunch of nominations. And those votes will occur next week.”

Sen. McConnell, clearly upset by Reid’s speech and accusations, noted that it was Reid who breached an agreement made last January not to make any Senate rule changes without following the regular order. McConnell was equally upset by Reid’s threat. “I just hope the Majority Leader thinks about his legacy, the future of his party, and most importantly, the future of our country before he acts.” McConnell warned. “Senate Democrats are gearing up today to make one of the most consequential changes to the United States Senate in the history of our nation. And I guarantee you, it is a decision that, if they actually go through with it, they will live to regret.”

That assessment has a familiar ring. The hypocritical Harry Reid made almost identical pronouncements in 2005 when Republicans had control of the Senate and Democrats were engaged in the process of repeatedly blocking former President George W. Bush’s nominees for the federal courts. Republicans also considered implementing the nuclear option at the time, but backed away when the bipartisan “Gang of 14” emerged to facilitate the nomination process. As Reid bemoaned at the time,

For the past several months, the Senate has operated under a nuclear cloud. As a result of the Senate’s decision to reject a small number of President Bush’s judicial nominees, the Republican majority has threatened to break the Senate rules, violate over 200 years of Senate tradition and impair the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues of real concern to the American people.

Now that Reid is in control, he has changed his tune. But his sudden change of heart is disingenuous. McConnell, who characterized Reid’s accusations of Republican obstructionism as an “absolutely phony, manufactured crisis,” revealed that at least two of the nominees opposed by Republicans, McCarthy and Perez, can already garner more than the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. What is really behind Reid’s about-face, McConnell illuminated, is that the Democrats and their Big Labor backers “want … the Senate to ratify the President’s unconstitutional decision to illegally appoint nominees to the NLRB and the CFPB without the input of the Senate.”

The reasons for that is fairly obvious. Much of Obama’s agenda is DOA in Congress, and installing apparatchiks, who will implement his un-passable policies administratively, will allow the president to bypass Congress and impose his will by fiat. As for the far Left and Big Labor, which overwhelming represents government unions, their agenda has been seriously undermined by the aforementioned D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, along with a slew of other stunning successes for free market labor policies, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s victory limiting the power of government unions and the previously unimaginable right-to-work law recently enacted in Michigan. In short, the government union lobby senses its waning influence and is desperate to secure an avenue of power by whatever means necessary — and it knows that the window of opportunity may be closing.

The NLRB is one such powerful perch that radical labor activists hope to infest. Think back to the board’s 2011 attempt to dictate where Boeing airlines could do business, which it did in order to placate Boeing’s labor unions in Washington State. If NLRB members are not confirmed by August, the board will cease to function, leaving labor decisions to regional NLRB offices.

As for some of the other nominees, CFPB nominee Richard Cordray would be a disastrous choice to head the consumer protection agency birthed by the Dodd-Frank comprehensive financial reform bill. As Bloomberg News reported in 2011, Cordray was an enthusiastic supporter of Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) during his stint as state treasurer. ESOP is a left-wing guerrilla activist group with a penchant for storming banks and private residences.

EPA nominee Gina McCarthy was one of disgraced former EPA head Lisa Jackson’s top lieutenants and author of some of that agency’s most economy-crushing carbon rules. As the Wall Street Journal notes, McCarthy “has been a notably willful regulator, even for this Administration. Her promotion is another way of saying that Mr. Obama has given up getting Congress to agree to his anticarbon agenda, especially given the number of Senate Democrats from coal or oil states.”

Thomas Perez may be the most radical nominee of all. Prior to his nomination for Secretary of Labor, Perez was the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Justice Department, where he was a more-than-willing perpetrator of that agency’s radical and racially polarizing agenda. His efforts included wars against photo ID for voting, attacking banks for not granting enough mortgages to “people of color,” (reprising the same tactics that led to the financial collapse of 2008), and suing state fire and police departments for not hiring black applicants who failed employment tests.

These are the nominees Obama needs to install by any means necessary if he is to have any hope of expanding his radical agenda while there is still time left. McConnell made the intentions of Reid and his fellow Democrats clear. “They want the power, and they want it now. They don’t care about the consequences,” he contended. He spoke to Politico regarding what may happen next. “We’ve requested a meeting of all Senators. We haven’t had one of those this year,” he said. “This is a matter of extreme importance to the institution and the country, and we think we ought all get together to discuss. We’re happy to do that as soon as possible.”

Reid said he’d consider such an idea: “I’m happy to have a joint meeting … I want this resolved, and I want it resolved one way or the other.”

When working towards that resolution, Harry Reid would be very wise to remember one of the oldest political adages ever: what goes around, comes around. Despite their current hubris, Democrats will not control the levers of power forever. They need to think long and hard about the long-term consequences that would arise from the recklessness of invoking the nuclear option — lest they become victims of their own making at some future point in time.

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  • cedarhill

    Actually, an expected move by the left. As the 2014 elections come into focus, there’s really not much downside for them. They get to pack the courts with lifetime appointments while they green light folks that will move regulations even further to the left. If Reid does this, then there’ll be a raft of resignations along with the “new three year plan” team taking office. Not to mention the NLRB, etc.


    The House flips to the Dems and the Senate retains 50 plus Biden. Using the nomination precedent, “boom”, the Senate does away with the 60 vote requirement. This gives the Dems a full two years ot ram through their entire agenda.

    If the House flips and the Dems still control the Senate, not much has changed but they can continue to pack the courts and replace any admin position in case of illness/death. For two years.

    If the Senate flips, regardless of the House, then fall back to using the filibuster to block bills since it would be impossible for the GOP to get 60 on their side of the aisle. The nominations would be blocked anyway.

    The calculus at least one year of stuffing the courts and putting in place loons of the left with an incredible increase in lower court cases finding for the left plus an avalanche of regulations — all of which will be nearly impossible to change. A perfect hijacking. The regs, written by the left, will be decided by district judges mostly appointed by the left with appeals decided by majority on the appellate benches appointed by the leff. That leaves only some mishap, illness or death of one of the older conservative SCOTUS judges and they complete the trifecta.

    It could be that Reid is signaling the Long March is about to conclude.

    • Well Done

      utterly comical analysis, sport, it’s almost a certainty the Dems will lose the Senate in 2014. that is why they are pulling out all the stops now, mere law means nothing to subversive wannabes like 0bama and his backroom.

      • Progressives Rule

        “it’s almost a certainty the Dems will lose the Senate in 2014″???
        Well done, Well Done. You have exposed your total misunderstanding of the election process. Well done.

  • DebRollin

    The Left is chomping at the bit to throw out the United States Constitution and make their own laws.

  • Kerri Feldman

    I am so sick of this Congress. Obama does what he wants anyway. He just signs Executive Orders. As a matter of fact I would like a count on how many “secret” Executive Orders he has signed. I would bet it is more than any other President. We really don’t need a Congress. They are totally ineffective.

    • TXLadyPatriot

      I hope what you’re really saying is that we don’t need the current members of Congress; y’know – the ones who are hell-bent on destroying the United States with playing political games for the sake of party-affiliation.

      • Kerri Feldman

        Yes that is what I am saying. This current Congress is not representing the people and the President steps right over them signing MANY Executive Orders. If this is how our elected officials act, we don’t need them. Time to clean house. Yes both parties.

  • Rdlake

    Wonder if Dingy Harry ever looks behind him to see how big of a slime trail he’s leaving behind.
    With this Zimmerman trial, it’s evident how corrupt these liberal judges are. The rule of law takes a back seat to these people’s bent idealogy. This idea of redefining oue laws is rampant, especially the wackos in the 9th circuit court. Add to this new Justices Sotomayor & Kagen with a 3rd possible addition of an out of control judge if Ginsberg is forced to retire and the US as we know will be no more. The nightmare that this man has created in 4 short years is incomprehensible.

  • dizzyizzy

    If the Dems have their way, “hard liberty” will be gone with the wind. Here I lay out the preconditions for “liberty.” That liberty is made possible by the Constitution including its Amendments and the traditions that sprung therefrom.

  • jtrollla

    This is one more reason that the 17th Amendment was a huge mistake.

    • Progressives Rule

      Yep, that damm Constitution… always mucking up the corruption, ehh? ROFL!

      • jtrollla

        You despise and violate the Constitution every chance you get, so why are you even mentioning it? Oh. When progressives (Marxists is what you really are) rule, the only result is destruction and you guys are doing a damn good job of it. You have absolutely no clue as to why senators, originally, were not chosen through the popular vote. But then, you do not understand the Constitution itself so I’m now wondering why I even bothered to point that out.

        • Progressives Rule

          You’re funny. Your Tea Baggers and Repukes are the ones who are continuously trying to rewrite the Constitution. When Boehner took the gavel for the House, his puke heads couldn’t even do honest readings of the Constitution. They intentionally left out those areas they wanted to change. How hard is it to simply “read” the dam thing?
          Senators were originally elected by state legislatures because the founders feared the government stealing powers and funds from the states. Alas, politicians being what they always are, corruption seeped in with the Senate turning the Senate into the original billionaires club, with legislators’ votes going to the highest bidder.
          Interesting that it was “progressives” who led the reform for a Constitutional amendment to have Senators elected by the people. It is ALWAYS progressives who want to improve things. Conservatives are incapable of change, of growth, of reevaluating situations and switching strategies. As witnessed from today’s Repukes, they cheat, lie and bribe to get their way. They are not concerned with the wishes of their constituents, only their selfish, short sighted agendas. See: their vote on gun background checks. 98% of the country supported them.

          • jtrollla

            You are what Lenin referred to as a “useful idiot.” You don’t understand anything about liberal democracy but completely buy into the phony egalitarianism of socialism. You are willing to trade your freedom for the false promise material security promised to you by your Progressive Pied Pipers. In other words, you are profoundly ignorant (although you believe otherwise) and motivated by greed, envy, and fear. This country is collapsing thanks largely to the efforts of your Dear Leader and his gang of political thugs. You are participating in your own demise but are too dim to realize it. Enjoy your delusion while it lasts. It is going to end sooner than you think. By the way. Are any of you Progressives capable of expressing yourselves without resorting to crude invective and name calling?

          • Progressives Rule

            Wanna see ignorant? Look in the mirror. This country is digging itself out of the hole your cowboy dug and Barack Obama is leading the charge. And THAT fact is making ya’ll bat shlt crazy! We laugh at you and you don’t even know it. Keep listening to Limburger, Hannity and Beek. They’re splitting the Rs up so that Dems will continue to live in the Whitehouse for a very lonnnnnng time. LOL!

          • jtrollla

            I concede that you progressives have most likely won and will realize the “fundamental transformation” of this society, which Obama is implementing. But I am absolutely certain that you will be be surprised when you see the inevitable results are far from what you have been promised. It will not a be utopia where everything is free and war and crime cease to exist. It will be a more deadly, repressive, impoverished, and corrupt reincarnation of the Soviet Union. The past leaders of the Soviet Union (Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev) are Obama’s ideological and philosophical predecessors. Frank Marshall Davis was a communist agent and Obama ‘s primary childhood mentor. Until the Soviet Union’s apparent collapse, it was the most murderous, cruel, evil cultural and political system that had ever existed and its destructive influence still persists. Your political views are largely due to the international efforts of the Soviets to distort history in order to reflect a false narrative of Western repressive imperialism versus communist benevolence and liberation. Our educational system has been morphed into an indoctrination machine. It has robbed you of any real historical perspective or the ability to think critically and discern fact from reality. In the end, it will be you Progressives who lose. You will see that utopia is an illusion and all efforts, past, and now present to create it have only led, or will lead to man-made Earthly Hells. Russia. China. Germany. Cambodia. Cuba. North Korea. Zimbabwe. Romania. In a very few years you can add your own country, the United States, to that list.

            “Lord, forgive them. For they know not what they do.”

          • Progressives Rule

            Don’t you folks ever t tired of that old, worn out communist thing? Seriously? You look silly and uneducated.

          • jtrollla

            Sill? Uneducated? PR, you are describing yourself. My turn to LOL!

  • John Davidson

    Looks to me like that job is almost done. I don’t see much respect for Congress coming out of the White House anymore. All his agencies are openly attacking his opponents without fearing recourse.

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      I don’t see much respect for Congress from the country as a whole.

  • jogotyree69

    that’s my tipping to point to go nuclear — their families will die and they will die… period


    It goes without saying that Obama’s nominees range from incompetent to worse. Nonetheless, Reid’s “busting the filibuster” will help Republicans in the long run: there’s no way Republicans are going to have 60 votes in the Senate, but they might conceivably have 51 or 52. Once the Democrats can’t filibuster, Republicans can repeal Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, tons of other regulations, and maybe even dissolve the NRLB if they have the sense. If the Democrats don’t bust the filibuster, Republicans will have to themselves – if they ever win a majority.

    As for the filibuster itself, let it die unmourned. It’s fine for the Senate to have more extended debate than the House, but unlimited debate has never been wise nor necessary, but simply sprang from past Senators having a vastly inflated sense of their own importance.

  • Well Done

    Laughable stupidity from laughably stupid people. Here is a man threatening to change the law of the land while criticizing Repubs for refusing to accept the, er, law of the land. Not only is that utterly stupid on its face, but it comes down the the issue at hand being that the Repubs are not required to rubber stamp people appointed to important positions by a gay crackhead non-American Moslem pretender.

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      Nor are they required to hold up everything so they can win political points. The Republicans have been abusing the filibuster rule for years now.

    • Progressives Rule

      pssst::: It’s not a law. It’s a rule. You just can’t fix stupid.

  • Progressives Rule

    Stop talking Harry and just pull the trigger. There is no honor in the Republican party in DC anymore.

    • herb benty

      Progressive= Commie, You, dear person, are a treasonous American. Basically prodding Ried to assist Obama to become Dictator, and “pull the trigger”, trying to BYPASS an elected Congress so OLENIN can implement destructive policies that have already RUINED EUROPE. Patriots have a God -given honor, atheistic, marxist Democrats must rely on human praise, which is nice but worthless and prone to error.

      • Progressives Rule

        Dear dear herbie, this will probably come as a shock to your infantile and ignorant mind buuuuut, the Senate runs by rules and those rules are created by the party in the majority. When the Repukes were in the majority they wrote the rules. The Dems are in the majority now sooooo, guess what? Now they get to write the rules. Those rules are then voted on and it only takes a majority to pass those rules.
        The disgusting, selfish, money hungry pigs in the Republican party in the House are blocking every single type of Senate business with their constant filibustering. What that means is that the minority party is actually running things. THAT is NOT how our government is designed to work. They are so cowardly they won’t allow even discussions of bills, never mind voting to pass the bills. They even filibuster the appointment of judges! Those empty judge seats are causing huge bottle necking in courts across the country. They are also blocking the president’s appointments to run agencies which he has every right to put his choices in.
        All Reid wants to do is prevent filibusters of those appointments. A vote still needs to be taken.
        Your COWARDs in the House do NOT represent their constituents! They are acting like treasonists. To support them shows how anti-American you and your ilk truly are.
        You and your type think calling people “commies” has some effect. It does. It shows the country how stupid and ignorant and out of intelligent arguments you truly are.

        • Drakken

          Look in the mirror Sparky, you endorse,support and defend the communist at every turn, thanks for effing up our country you dumbazz, ever hear of the law of unintended consequences? Your about to see it in all it’s glory, may you rot in it.

        • herb benty

          Truth seems to fluster you, kiddo. Yes the Dems are commies and their days are numbered.

        • Moto

          “You and your type think calling people “commies” has some effect. It does. It shows the country how stupid and ignorant and out of intelligent arguments you truly are.”

          You liberals know what you want, and you deserve to get it, good and hard.

          Unfortunately, since it is YOU people who are usually monied,thanks to all the system-gaming you do, you’ll just move out of the country after you ruin it,like the liberals in South Africa did after they ended Apartheid and stuck decent farmers with the murderous Communist ANC which is currently threatening to ethnically cleanse them through a campaign of murder.

          On your pronunciations that the recognition of your sympathy to communism shows people, “how stupid we are”,you remind me of the guys calling the protagonist in Idiocracy a “f@g” for asking directions in English instead of textspeak and grunts.

          I only hope that when it all goes up in flames, you are caught right in the middle of it, unable to parlay your upper middle class white liberal privilege (the only type of “white privilege” that actually exists) into a passport to escape the inferno. I hope your “friends” tear you apart in the street and f*cking eat you, like the animals they are.

          • Progressives Rule

            If it all goes up in flames it will be the Repukes fault. They’re well on their way to creating a dictatorship. They want only their kind of people to be able to vote and are already passing laws to eliminate entire classes of people from voting. All their, and probably yours too!, actions show the contempt they have for our gov’t and our Constitution… contrary to all their whining to the contrary.

        • EagleJim

          A couple of things I noticed about you: first, you’re a hypocrite in objecting to name calling (“commies”) when you willingly engage in it yourself (“cowards” “stupid” “ignorant” “Repukes” “treasonists” “anti-American” etc.). I also believe you are one of the population of “blindly partisan” thinkers (as opposed to a “free-thinking partisan”)–I think if the political situation were reversed, you’d be all in favor of denouncing the nuclear option. In other words, I think you have two standards, one for the Dems and another for the Reps.

          • Progressives Rule

            I laugh at you people calling everyone to the right of Newt Gingrich “commies” simply because it is so childish, so intellectually lazy. Unlike ya’ll, I actually look at both sides, all the facts on every issue. On some I lean left, some center and on some I lean to the right. I only support the nuclear option, as you morons call it, because the Repukes in Congress use the filibuster to prevent action on EVERYTHING. What Reid was proposing was only for appointments, which usually speed thru. McConnell and Ryan came up with this obstructionist strategy to make Obama look ineffective. They don’t care about how their actions, or lack there of, impact the country. They are un-Americans in their actions. Even John McCain has finally said ENOUGH! So, he brokered a compromise deal with the Dems to avoid Reid having to take action. McConnell looked like the fool that he is. Hopefully, this will encourage the other less-Tea Baggerish Repukes to work “with” the Dems so the people we elected can actually do the work they ran on, got elected to do and are paid quite well to do!
            I would rather Reid not have to pull the trigger. I want our gov’t to work as it should. However, McConnell is not a man of integrity. He has lied so many times to Harry Reid re: this issue that his word carries no weight anymore.
            You won’t have to worry about the reverse situation. The Dems wouldn’t dream of acting as un-American as the Repukes have been acting for the past 5 years.

    • Drakken

      Well commi, by pushing your communist agenda, you will end up with the law of unintended consequences, and it won’t be pretty for you and others of your ilk. You and the rest of you leftist/progressive/Marxist are the vilest of the vile and frankly I am way beyond the point of giving a rats azz about you and the rest of the Quislings that subvert this great country on a daily basis, let it rain!

      • Progressives Rule

        Changing the rules, so that the Senate can do its work, will really make your heads spin won’t it? Fasten your seat belt, illiterite dip shlt, the Dems are about to put things into over drive. ROFL! ROFL! ROFL!

        • Drakken

          I am sick and bloody tired of you commis, I say drive that bus over the cliff and let the chips fall where they may.

          • Progressives Rule

            Wellll, that’s very white of you. LOL!

          • Drakken

            You commi bas**** will drive this country to ruin and in your rush to do so, you will seal your own fate.

          • cptbman

            Welll, that’s very racist of you. LOL! Derp!

  • Everett Vulgamore

    this is just another step to a dictatorship. its like the case of the boiling frog, sadly…

  • DurkaDurka

    Before it’s over, this parasite will find out what nuclear really means.

  • herb benty

    In August or September, JUST BEFORE the last election, I noticed Obama appoint a genuine marxist to head the Dept. of Labor. She QUICKLY issued to the American people better than expected stats on unemployment in the country on all MSM. the stats were proven later to be way too rosey. She was quietly removed by Obama later having done his bidding. THIS is what is going on in America, under American’s noses, a bonafide communist government!

  • Raymond – Jesus is Lord.

    Reid is evil incarnate.