Senate GOP Meeting Tuesday to Figure Out How to Block More Nominees
Senate Republicans aren't sure yet how they're going to try to continue to block President Obama's nominees, now that they can't filibuster them on the floor. But what they do know is that they want to keep blocking the nominations. Theyjust have to figure out how.
Stinging from Senate Democrats’ gutting of the filibuster, Senate Republicans will use their private caucus lunch Tuesday to decide on their strategy for holding back a string of nominees. [...]
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of Republican leadership, said simply that GOP senators still needed to hash the issue out. “I don't think we'll probably know until tomorrow afternoon, after our caucus,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Hill. A possible compromise could involve advancing some of the nominees before the holiday along with an agreement to take up the rest when the Senate returns at the beginning of January.
Such a deal could be critical, since any nominees pending over the holiday break could be sent back to the White House, which would have to begin the process again from scratch.
Senate rules stipulate that nominees that are not voted on by the Senate by the end of a session must be sent back to the White House. The 113th Congress will enter its second session at the beginning of 2014.
Harry Reid could get unanimous consent from the Senate to waive that rule, so that they wouldn't have to start from scratch with many of these nominees. That's if Republicans decide they're in a mood to compromise, which we haven't seen much indication of so far. The strategy that forced last week's marathon session that kept the Senate wasting hours and hours of time isn't a good sign that they'll be in a mood to help out.
Reid filed for cloture on another bunch of nominees Monday, preparing to bring the nominations to the floor. He also reiterated his threat to keep the Senate in until Christmas to get through them. That threat could be enough to bring Republicans around to some kind of agreement, but the fact that Republicans are meeting today to figure out their strategy for obstruction going forward isn't a good sign.