POLITICS

Harry Reid On Nuclear Option: I 'Ate Sh*t' On Filibustered Obama Nominations

07/13/2013 03:35 pm ET
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) regrets waiting so long to push for filibuster reform in the Senate and allowing Republicans to hold up several Obama nominations -- and he didn't mince words about it earlier this week.

"I ate sh*t on some of those nominations," Reid said in a closed-door caucus meeting on Thursday, anonymous sources present at the meeting told Politico.

Reid recently began threatening to use a majority vote to prevent filibusters of White House agency and cabinet nominees (a move also known as the "nuclear option").

So far this year, several of Obama's second-term cabinet nominations have been stalled by Senate Republicans.

“This type of blanket, partisan obstruction used to be unheard-of,” Reid said on the Senate floor in May, according to the New York Times. “Now it has become an unacceptable pattern.”

Currently, Senate filibusters allow a minority to stall a vote on an issue until the other side forms a super-majority of 60 votes.

But even if Reid successfully goes for the nuclear option, Republicans will still be able to filibuster judicial nominations.

Senate insiders say that Democrats lack the votes to change the rules for judges, but agency nominees are an easier sell. The president was elected, goes the argument, and has earned the right to choose his own staff, free of a filibuster. If Republicans want to pick the White House staff, then they should win the election and occupy the White House, the argument concludes. Judges, on the other hand, are a separate branch of government and are appointed for life.

A study released by the Brennan Center for Justice earlier this month found that there are currently a record-breaking number of vacancies at district courts across the country.

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