Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Democrat Senate majority on Thursday, November 21, 2013, executed the “nuclear option” to eliminate the filibuster for executive branch and judicial nominees. The nuclear option does not apply to Supreme Court nominees. Reid said, “Republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent President Obama from appointing his executive team or confirming judges.” Only three Democrats voted with Republicans to avoid the Senate rules change. The 52 (all Democrats) – 48 vote created a new precedent by which a simple majority may bypass cloture on nominations.
Yes, the “nuclear option” is precisely the same Senate rule he said was an “assault on democracy” in 2005 when Democrats were in the minority and they were using the filibuster. Reid, in April 2005, said, “The threat to change Senate rules is a raw abuse of power and will destroy the very checks and balances our founding fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government.”
So what does all of this mean? Now a simple majority vote (on which Reid can count) is needed to approve ANY presidential nominee. And, as we have seen, Obama has appointed some real winners (“winners” written dripping with sarcasm).
But what is much more interesting is the situation created in October 2013, by John Boehner (R-OH). Boehner agreed to consider the Senate’s plan to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, and will allow the borrowing increase bill to pass with mostly Democrat votes. Eighty-seven Republicans voted for the bill, joining ALL the Democrats in the House of Representatives.
What came next really sent a message to Boehner (and Reid and Obama and Democrats). In a closed-door caucus, Boehner received a standing ovation from Republicans, including several TEA Party backed Republicans.
… it is in our best interest… [to accept the new levels, which do not cut as steeply as some conservative lawmakers wanted] – Rep. Eric Cantor, R-VA
He’s done a good job keeping us together. – Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC
I think his stock has risen tremendously, and certainly he has great security as our leader and our speaker. – Rep. John Fleming, R-LA
… lost the battle, but we’re going to win the war… – Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-KA, who voted to oust Boehner as Speaker of the House
And here’s what some RINOs had to say about the situation in general:
We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win. – Rep. John Boehner, R-OH
… condemn him for what he did. – Rep. Peter King, R-NY, talking about Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) actions
Boehner should cut out the far-right flank and work with centrist Democrats. – Rep. Aaron Schock, R-IL
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, (R-CA), speaking of the lesson he learned
… we have lost this battle … – Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
So who can blame Reid for his actions? He was, after all, emboldened by Boehner (and McCain and King and Hudson and Fleming and Republicans in general). If ever there was an indication that it’s time for Boehner and his fellow RINOs to go, this is it.
But that’s just my opinion.
Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer, my very conservative web site.