Harry Reid pushes forward on nuclear options after meeting

Senators failed to forge a deal late Monday that would set up a vote on seven of President Obama’s executive nominees, pushing Harry Reid closer to exercising the “nuclear option,” changing filibuster rules in a way that could send shockwaves up and down Pennsylvania Avenue for a long, long time.

While the Democratic leader says the fallout would be limited, even a targeted strike could have far-reaching impact, and perhaps forever change how presidents pick their nominees – and how the Senate functions.

“Once you blow that door open, it’s really hard to go back,” said the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, Sen. John Thune, warning that Republicans could respond in kind when they once again control the upper chamber.

Right now, the basic question for any White House selecting cabinet-level nominees is: what candidate is both ideologically compatible with the president and able to secure support from the other party? But under the world Reid is poised to create, the question becomes: what candidate will only lose a handful of votes within our own party, a Senate GOP policy aide argued.

National Journal
7/15/13