Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a taped television interview Tuesday that abuse of the filibuster must end, but added that he still held out hope for a deal with Republicans.
"I said when I left for recess that I was going to work with Republicans to try to get something done, and I am going to do that," he said in a taping of KRNV's "To The Point" to be aired Saturday, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
However, he made it clear that the president's nominees deserve a vote. "I do know this, you cannot have -- whether the new president is Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton -- you can’t have a president of the United States who can’t have their team," he said. "I’m not here beating the drum to change the filibuster for everything. It has its place, but it shouldn’t be abused."
The Washington Post reported that Reid is focused on the month of July as the time to possibly use the so-called "nuclear option" that would change Senate rules to do away with 60-vote thresholds for executive branch and judicial nominees.
Reid also pulled back on a nomination vote for Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until July. Forty-three Republicans have demanded changes to the CFPB before they will approve any nominee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has bristled at the nuclear option. "Let’s be clear. These threats to use the nuclear option because of obstruction are just pretexts for a power grab," he said on the Senate floor on May 22. "This is another example of the majority manufacturing a crisis to justify heavy-handed behavior."
President Barack Obama has set up a fight over the filibuster, as the New York Times reported that he plans to nominate three judges to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation's second-most important court. Prior to that, Republicans dropped procedural objections and allowed a vote for court nominee Sri Srinivasan, which passed 97-0.