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Senate Republicans Give In, ‘Nuclear’ Crisis Averted

Memo Pad Politics

Senate Republicans Give In, ‘Nuclear’ Crisis Averted


A total of 17 Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to debate the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Tuesday. This signals the end of a standoff that could have ended with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) using the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules with a simple majority.

The deal between Reid and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reportedly calls for seven of the president’s nominees to receive up or down votes. In addition, the president will nominate two new members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), who will also receive votes.

Senate Republicans appeared to have “blinked,” basically giving in to the Democrats’ demands with the “face-saving” gesture of demanding new NLRB nominees. But what the majority won is what presidents have enjoyed for more than two centuries: the ability to nominate to the executive branch the people he wants to work with.

In President Obama’s first term, the minority filibustered as many of his executive nominees as it had in Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s four terms combined. But the refusal to vote on a director for the CFPB and members of the NLRB represented the GOP’s most creative attempt at obstruction, using the Senate’s “advise and consent” power to try to nullify functions of government mandated by law.

The president had attempted to get around Republican obstruction with recess nominations of Cordray and members of the NLRB. Republicans contested those nominations, claiming the Senate was still technically in session. A federal court blocked the NLRB nominations and put Cordray’s in doubt.

Republicans clearly object to the CFPB and not the nominee — whom they’ve praised — himself. This point was illuminated when Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) took the floor before the vote to debate Cordray’s nomination in order to rant against the bureau’s power.

John McCain has either shown there is a division in the Republican caucus or that he’s secretly acting at the behest of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who sided with his party’s hardliners in order to protect his standing with the GOP base as he seeks re-election.

The filibuster, which Senate Republicans have used an unprecedented number of times to block legislation and judicial nominations, remains completely intact in the deal.

All that’s changed is that Senate Republicans will give the president’s nominees what they’ve almost always gotten: an up-or-down vote.

Photo: Dan Raustad via Wikimedia Commons


  1. 4sanity4all July 16, 2013

    If this is the beginning of the Democrats calling for action on important issues, I am all for it. Pacifying stubborn GOP members has gotten us all nowhere; it is time to move forward on many issues, because the economy will not fully recover until we do.

    1. sigrid28 July 16, 2013

      Either Democrats do away with the filibuster for presidential nominations with perhaps a few exceptions and load up the EPA and Labor Board, protecting both the environment and the middle class; or the Republicans will, when and if they have a majority in the Senate as of 2014, instituting a complete stoppage of government. Barack Obama will have to veto most of the legislation they try to pass until 2016. Meanwhile, the government functions he could have influenced (in the absence of any bills passed by congress that he could sign) be hampered by his not having the appointees he needs to authorize the functions of the government that fall within the purview of the executive branch. Now that it has been abused for years by the Republicans, the filibuster will be going–it is just a question when, and which side will benefit the most when it is gone. The public be damned.

      1. Mark Forsyth July 16, 2013

        We can also keep hoping for the eventual demise of the gop.After all dark money won’t keep them alive forever,there has to be some substance and semblance of decency and humanity for them to survive.Sadly,for them,that is an investment they are unable to make.

      2. Lynda Groom July 17, 2013

        If the GOP controlled both house bills would be sent to the President to turn back time and established programs. However, Obama would certainly veto the more onerous ones. To overturn his veto would require a 2/3rd vote to overturn. That is 67 Senators and 290 House members. Today the gerrymandered house seats consist of 201 Demo’s and 234 R’s. I can’t really see any reasonable way that either body can swing that much, either way. One thing I totally agree is that if the Senate majority turns to the GOP they would not hesitate to change the filibuster rule to their advantage.

  2. A_Real_Einstein July 16, 2013


    It seems that the GOP bullies respond to only one thing and that is brute force. It is high time that democrats in the senate start acting like the majority. It is time to kick some butt and knock their teeth down their throats. It is time that Harry Reid stands up with some backbone and delivers for the American People. God Bless the Senate

    1. sigrid28 July 16, 2013

      But he has NOT done anything. They just voted to debate Corday’s nomination: he is not yet confirmed. These empty positions are not filled, if they could be without the filibuster THAT IS STILL IN PLACE. The Republicans won this one, McCain in particular. Isn’t that obvious?

      1. Sand_Cat July 16, 2013

        I love it. They “averted” actually doing something by having some of the GOP agreeing to debate, leaving them free to filibuster away on anything. When are the Dems going to get it: a “gentlemen’s agreement” works only if one is agreeing with “gentlemen,” not a bunch of pathological liars and delusional lunatics.

      2. 788eddie July 16, 2013

        I’ve heard rumors that, when this is over, the Republicans are going to confer an honorary membership in their party on Harry Reid.

        Any truth to that?

      3. Lynda Groom July 17, 2013

        Reid played them like a cheap watch. Corday was confirmed tonite by 66-34 vote.

  3. Ian C Johnson July 16, 2013

    As long as the Dems keep pushing back. All too often, they are willing to push for one step forward while accepting three steps back.

    I suspect that the political system would be much better off without the filibuster in the first place, so I’m not too pleased that the damned thing couldn’t be abolished. The Dems could accomplish these same goals if they got rid of the filibuster and just used their majority. but they are feckless and scared of the day when Repubs could control the Senate.

    1. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

      What is bothersome is that Clinton went through the entire Impeachment process, coming close to losing office. The crap Bush did never even was considered impeachable. And here we are again, with the Republicans wanting to impeach a Democratic president. Grow a pair, Harry! And somebody needs to turn Holder into a junkyard dog.

  4. DukeDacat July 16, 2013

    NUKE’em, Harry!!!!!

  5. tax payer July 16, 2013

    Is this the Beginning of the end of the Republicans? Sure does look like it to me, so why even be there, if you will be Brainwashe by the DemocRATS.

    1. stcroixcarp July 16, 2013

      Sweet dreams, troll. You can slither back in your cave now.

      1. tax payer July 16, 2013

        As long as your wife joins me I’ll be happy to, so what is her expertise? Big Lips?

        1. sigrid28 July 16, 2013

          Your misogyny and racism is unwelcome on this website.

          1. tax payer July 16, 2013

            Just because I disagree with you it doesn’t make me a Racist. Imagine, if everyone was a ( YES MAN ). You have your opinions and I have mine, so maybe both of us are just plain Racists. Welcome to the Club.

          2. Mark Forsyth July 16, 2013

            How about you try to disagree without being so disagreeable.I and everyone here can dish it out as well as take it.

          3. tax payer July 16, 2013


          4. Mark Forsyth July 16, 2013

            What’s the matter man,no nerve to come out and say it?

        2. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

          Your wife has a nice plump booty, from what I have heard from folks in the neighborhood, and she knows how to use it.

          1. tax payer July 16, 2013

            Your wife does a better job with her mouth I also heard.

          2. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

            Not than yo mama.

          3. tax payer July 16, 2013

            Your Grandmother sailed in the Mayflower as one of the Slaves from Africa, and now your cousins are Protesting in Houston and Sanford.

          4. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

            My grandmother? That would make her over 400 years old. I need to call Guinness. That’s got to be some kind of record. However, my ancestors DID marry into at least two Mayflower families, including the Bradfords. They actually HAVE been taxpayers here for over 350 years. If anybody has a right to complain about where our tax dollars are going, it is me. How long has your family been paying taxes, or were they indentured servants? Oh, sorry, for some silly reason I am assuming you are caucasian. Whatever.

          5. tax payer July 16, 2013

            I just wanted to know, if you knew your History and I must admit you are well informed, so I’ll tell you what you win and have a nice day. I was only kidding in everything I have said to you. Sometimes I get sort of carried away and I hope you have it in your heart to forgive me for the way I have acted toward you. I know it’s not easy to do, so I won’t hold it against you, if you still hate me.

          6. RobertCHastings July 17, 2013

            There is a big difference between hatred and disagreement. I, too, sometimes allow my zealotry to override civility. We can at least agree to disagree, even though, sometimes, we really don’t disagree.

          7. Lynda Groom July 17, 2013

            Come on boys please stop with my dick is bigger than yours twaddle. These type of arguments are better suited for the high school little boys gym. Besides each other you are insulting all the readers and posters. Stop it please.

          8. tax payer July 17, 2013

            I have stopped as off yesterday. I have already apologized to him.

          9. roguerunners July 16, 2013

            OOps! I know it’s hard to ignore such ignorance…but we must not give it anything to feed on so it will starve to death.

      2. Russell Byrd July 16, 2013

        We hope it is the beginning of the end for the Re-thieve-acons.

  6. Eleanore Whitaker July 16, 2013

    The whole operative in dealing with the GOP bull males is to never ever make idle threats. Do that and these hardliners know they, not the the Dems, have subversively gained total control of government. For GOP bull males, it’s not about the country, the people who pay their salaries or being politicians. It’s all about being stewards of vast wealth and keeping it that way as long as possible. Congratulations Mr. Reid and Dems!

    1. sigrid28 July 16, 2013

      I agree. What a terrible precedent for Democrats now and in the future.

    2. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

      Being stewards of vast wealth IS all about the people who pay their salaries. Even middle class Republicans actually think their lot is tied to that of the wealthy who, in reality, want their treasure, too.

  7. Pamby50 July 16, 2013

    The President is going to get his cabinet but what about all the judges out there. So many vacancies and none of the nominations going thru. The senate can still filibuster them. This is a good start.

    1. sigrid28 July 16, 2013

      If the filibuster had been redefined for nominations, these positions could be filled by August. The government goes on vacation for the month of August, so forget having these judges for another three months, at least. Now, the Republicans can still delay them as long as they want. I wish I could agree that this is a good start, but it is not.

      1. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

        I agree with you. Another case of kicking the can down the road.

  8. Mark Forsyth July 16, 2013

    I would have thought that the Memo could do a better job than to list Harry Reid as [R, NV.] in their article. Could have sworn he is a Democrat.

    1. Allan Richardson July 16, 2013

      We know it was a typo. Pobody’s nerfect. I remember a few years back when the NAACP (or maybe another civil rights group) was presenting a plaque to honor the actor James Earl Jones (known best for the VOICE behind Darth Vader and the “This is CNN” identification). The trophy maker made a BIG mistake, engraving the name of King’s assassin James Earl RAY! But it WAS only a mistake.

      1. Mark Forsyth July 16, 2013

        I hope that Jones had a hense of sumor.

      2. Sand_Cat July 16, 2013

        Sure it’s a typo? We’re into our eighth year of Dem “control” of the Senate with nothing whatsoever done to stop the obstruction and minority rule.

    2. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

      Sometimes, you must wonder. After all, he did back off with the Universal Background Check.

      1. Mark Forsyth July 17, 2013

        I guess that I missed that little tidbit.Intersting though.Makes me think about the old Easy Rider movie.Nicholsons character is stating how the notion of freedom in America is flawed, as people are bought and sold in the market place,[halls of congress],everyday.Tell the common man that he is not free and he will get busy killing and maiming to prove that he is. It is still disturbing no matter how long it goes on.
        As I’m sure you know,we have politicians who belong to a specific party or another in name only.

        1. RobertCHastings July 17, 2013

          Reid’s autobiography, “The Good Fight”, portrays a very interesting and checkered past. He associated, as did Harry Truman, with some very unsavory characters on his way to public office. He fully understands the underpinnings of political power.

  9. bfg July 16, 2013

    It is the democrats who blinked leaving us with a Senate that still cannot act by majority decision. Leaving the automatic Republican filibuster in place is not a victory

  10. joe July 16, 2013

    I say get rid of the need for sixty votes to override a filibuster. After all,do you expect them to stop the obstruction to getting the peoples work done.

  11. ram1020 July 16, 2013

    This is only one of the 7 that Reid demanded. He blinked, too.
    This is not a bad thing. I don’t want a government to be able to steam roll an agenda, even if it one I generally agree with. There is always the chance that I will have a minority opinion on a key issue, and I want to be sure that it will be heard and not suppressed.

    1. roguerunners July 16, 2013

      Good point!

    2. Mark Forsyth July 17, 2013

      During the rare times that congress seems to do something,it frequently has the appearance of being a half measure.Of course,that gets passed off as compromise or bi-partisanship.
      I’m sure that like me,you too have areas of concern where you want your elected officials to stand firm. I have always felt that a man who won’t stand for something,will fall for anything.However we have got a crew in D.C. who seem more interested in furthering their carreers than in working the peoples will.

    3. sigrid28 July 17, 2013

      Good point. Wouldn’t your requirement be met by a talking filibuster? Maybe we need more kinds of filibusters rather than none at all. And what about all of those judicial appointments that have been held up forever and a day?

  12. Allan Richardson July 16, 2013

    How about a two week time limit on filibusters, from the first refusal of cloture to a MANDATORY AUTOMATIC cloture? And for nominees to court or administration positions, the time limit should be CUMULATIVE for a given position; if you use it up on the first nominee and vote him/her down, you will have NO filibuster time left.

    1. RobertCHastings July 16, 2013

      How about an elimination of the filibuster, period. The party in power SHOULD have the power and the authority to do what they feel is best for the country, and a simple majority should be all that is necessary. Yes, there should be a mechanism in place that gives the minority party a say, but they should not have the power to shut things down. Eliminate the filibuster in the Senate, and eliminate the Hastert rule in the House, simple up-or-down votes on EVERYTHING, Super Majorities reserved ONLY for Amendments to the Constitution or Impeachment.

  13. Catskinner July 16, 2013

    McCain again! Didn’t he do enough damage with that comprehensive immigration nonsense?

  14. roguerunners July 16, 2013

    To all of the Senators and Representatives,
    We are the public.
    You are Public Servants.
    Now, start SERVING US!

    1. RobertCHastings July 17, 2013

      Add to that, “And we are the ones that put you into office.” Regardless of the amount of money ANY candidate can collect and throw into a campaign, it is STILL the accumulation of individual votes that puts him into office. Romney’s campaign gathered more money that Obama’s, and yet Obama won the popular vote by over 3 1/2 million.

  15. Lynda Groom July 17, 2013

    This is not the end of obstruction by the GOP, however it is indeed a small step in perhaps correcting some of the more outrageous actions of McConnell and his ilk. Any administration, including this one, deserve the right to pick the heads of the various departments without 500 day delays before an up or down vote. Will this bring about a more cooperative Senate? Only time will tell.

  16. docb July 17, 2013

    This is temporary ..repubs have never kept their word…

  17. montanabill July 17, 2013

    Not thinking beyond today, many of you would have been very happy if Reid had invoked the ‘nuclear option’. You have probably forgotten that Bush faced the same stalemate from Dems and if the ‘nuclear option’ is ever played by Reid, that means next time it is going to be fair game for the GOP to use it when they again have a small majority. Be careful what you wish for.


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