Tuesday, July 16, 2013

U.S. Senate Showdown Over Nominees Expected Today

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:27 AM

The U.S. Senate appears headed for a showdown today as Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell play a game of political chicken.

A series of votes is set for today surrounding a list of proposed presidential appointees that has been gathering dust while the GOP stalls and/or blocks the measures. Reid said if Republicans don't allow up or down votes on the appointees, he will move to change the Senate rules so that presidential nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority—51 votes—as opposed to the current 60 votes. Reid threatened that unless the GOP stops its blocking efforts, he will try to change the rules "to save the Senate from becoming obsolete."

But senators from both sides of the aisle are calling for a compromise, urging Reid and McConnell in a marathon late night behind-closed-door session to avoid the rule change.

But Reid appears adamant.

"This is a moment in history where circumstances dictate the need for change," said Reid. "I love the Senate, but right now the Senate is broken and needs to be fixed."

And McConnell was having none of it.

"It's a decision that, if they actually go through with it, they will live to regret," said McConnell.

Among the list of nominees are new directors of the National Labor Relations Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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