By Jon Dougherty
Tired of Democrats using arcane procedural rules in the Senate to obstruct POTUS Donald Trump’s nominees and hamstring his ability to govern the Executive Branch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is considering using the “nuclear option” to get them approved by a simple majority.
On Tuesday Republicans failed to muster enough Democrat support to bust through the current 60-vote requirement to achieve ‘cloture’ and move nominees to the full Senate for consideration.
Democrats have been using obscene debate time limits — 32 hours — to stall all of the president’s nominees. By invoking the nuclear option Democrats’ debate time would be cut to just two hours.
After that, the GOP would only need 51 votes to approve presidential nominees.
Last week, McConnell set up the procedural cloture vote knowing it would fail so he could consider the nuclear option next.
On the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell called the Democratâ€™s actions â€œsystematic obstruction,” adding it’s â€œnot targeted, thoughtful opposition to a few marquee nominations or rare circumstances. But a grinding, across-the-board effort to delay and obstruct the people this president puts up. Even if they have unquestionable qualifications. Even if the job is relatively low-profile.â€
Other GOP leaders like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Democrats are going to oppose any nominee the president puts forth.
â€œOver the past two years, some in this body have decided that they will oppose any nominee suggested by President Trump. There isnâ€™t a senator in this room who serves their stateâ€™s interest when qualified, noncontroversial nominees are prevented from being confirmed,â€ Grassley said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
â€œHowever, some members continue to do just that by slow-walking the presidentâ€™s nominees for partisan purposes.â€
â€œIt is not fair to the American people. The American people deserve the government they elected,â€ McConnellÂ saidÂ on the floor last week.
â€œFrom an institutional perspective, as well all acknowledge, this is completely unsustainable.â€
Democrats complained, stating that it’s the Senate’s responsibility to provide “advice and consent.” But of course, that means that nominees would actually have to be moved forward to be considered in the first place.
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