WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will meet with his Democratic caucus on Thursday to decide how hard they will press for filibuster rules changes. According to Senate sources and multiple news reports, Reid will push the caucus to invoke its right to change the rules on filibustering executive branch nominees.

As CNN reported Wednesday, Reid is expected to press Democrats to use the so-called nuclear option to make filibusters more difficult in spite of strong Republican objection. The nuclear option would invoke parliamentary procedures to change Senate rules by a simple majority vote, rather than the supermajority of 67 senators typically required for such changes.

A Senate Democratic aide involved in the talks told The Huffington Post that Democrats are "on track for a vote" on rules changes, increasing pressure on Republicans.

Reid hinted at his intentions on Tuesday, telling reporters he would discuss confirmation fights with his caucus.

"I think Thursday, by the time the day's out, you'll have a better idea of what we're going to try to do on this," Reid said.

Reid's push for the nuclear option comes as several high-profile confirmation battles loom, including over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pick Richard Cordray and Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy.

The Huffington Post's Michael McAuliff reported Tuesday:

Late Tuesday afternoon, Reid met with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), one of the most outspoken advocates of sweeping reform, Democratic aides told HuffPost. Merkley pushed Reid hard in December to make major changes to Senate rules, and was ultimately rebuffed, but his meeting with the leader Tuesday signals that Democrats are attempting to align behind a single strategy.

...

Democratic sources confirmed a New York Times report that leaders are weighing a change that would end filibusters on presidential picks for administrative posts, but not for judgeships. It's a plan that appears to have been in the works for some time. HuffPost reported in May that Democrats were gearing up for a fight around Cordray's job this month.

Reid has long threatened to invoke the controversial procedure, but has said he would hold back if Senate Republicans agreed to be less obstructive in confirming President Barack Obama's nominees.

"If the Republicans in the Senate don’t start approving some judges and don’t start helping get some of these nominations done, then we’re going to have to take more action," Reid said in April.

A report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law earlier this month found that judicial vacancies are at unprecedented levels under Obama, with a 10 percent vacancy rate in federal district courts. Under George W. Bush, those vacancies averaged 4.4 percent.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 110th-112th Congress (2007-present)

  • Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 108th & 109th Congress (2003-07)

  • Tom Daschle (D-S.D.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 107th Congress (2001-03)

  • Trent Lott (R-Miss.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 105th & 106th Congress (1997-2001)

  • Bob Dole (R-Kan.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 99th & 104th Congress (1985-87, 1995-96). Dole resigned from the Senate in June 1996 to focus on his presidential campaign.

  • George Mitchell (D-Maine)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 101st-103rd Congress (1989-95)

  • Robert Byrd (D-W.V.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 95th, 96th & 99th Congress (1977-81, 1985-87)

  • Howard Baker (R-Tenn.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 97th & 98th Congress (1981-85)

  • Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 87th-94th Congress (1961-77)

  • Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 84th-86th Congress (1955-61). Johnson resigned from the Senate in Jan. 1961 to take on his new role as vice president.

  • William Knowland (R-Calif.)

    (Pictured right) <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 83rd Congress (1953-55)

  • Robert Taft (R-Ohio)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 83rd Congress (1953). Taft died on July 31, 1953 and William Knowland was elected to take over on August 4.

  • Ernest McFarland (D-Ariz.)

    (Pictured standing, far right) <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 82nd Congress (1951-53)

  • Scott Lucas (D-Ill.)

    (Pictured front row, left) <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 81st Congress (1949-51)

  • Wallace White Jr. (R-Maine)

    (Pictured far left) <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 80th Congress (1947-49)

  • Alben Barkley (D-Ky.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 75th-79th Congress (1937-47).

  • Joseph Robinson (D-Ark.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 73rd-75th Congress (1933-37). Robinson died on July 14, 1937, and Alben Barkley was elected a week later to take over.

  • James Watson (R-Ind.)

    (Pictured second from right) <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 71st & 72nd Congress (1929-33)

  • Charles Curtis (R-Kan.)

    <a href="http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Majority_Minority_Leaders.htm#2">Senate Majority Leader</a>, 68th-70th Congress (1923-29). Curtis resigned from the Senate in March 1929 after being elected vice president.