The Nuclear Option Resurfaces

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In the Senate this afternoon, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Majority Leader Harry Reid of breaking his word. McConnell seemed to be referring to Reid’s promise to take the so-called “nuclear option” off the table. However, it is unclear how long a shelf life Reid’s promise was intended to have at the time it was given (“for the remainder of the Congress,” according to McConnell). For his part, Reid accused the Republicans of not living up to their side of the bargain regarding filibusters.

The dispute erupts over the fact that Republicans are once again blocking the President’s nominations. Seven are at issue, including Richard Cordray, the recess-appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The nuclear option would help Democrats in the short-term. However, it would presumably help Republicans were they to regain control of the Senate.

But it looks like Reid is serious about using the nuclear option. If they want to avoid it, Republicans will have to accede, at least to a certain extent. As of right now, it looks like there is going to be a showdown in the Senate on Monday and into Tuesday of next week.

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