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The threats from Harry Reid to go nuclear on Senate rules reform have coalesced behind three nominations that he plans to bring to the floor next week, all of which will almost certainly be filibustered by Republicans: Richard Cordray at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth McCarthy at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Thomas Perez at Labor. A senior aide to Reid tells Greg Sargent that "that he’s all but certain to take action if the Senate GOP blocks three upcoming key nominations," but not until July.
Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says, adding that senior Democrats expect the President to publicly push for it as well. “If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,” the aide says. [...]
If Republicans block those three nominees, the aide tells me, “then our position will be very easy.”
[I]mmigration reform is looming as a wild card in Reid’s internal thinking about whether to revisit the filibuster. The aide says senior Democratic Senators have privately expressed worry to the Majority Leader that revisiting the rules could imperil the immigration push, and have asked him to delay it until after immigration reform is done (or is killed).
This is why July has emerged as the rough target date, the aide says. “The fear is that if he does this before immigration reform is done, then all of the Republicans are going to walk,” the aide tells me.
Because the Republican House hasn't already doomed immigration reform already? Reid apparently feels like he needs to have these three derailed votes to really convince those senior Democratic senators that there really is a problem. Or perhaps he's putting this story out there as a warning shot to Republicans to play nice on these nominees. As if warning that filibuster reform might really happen this time has ever stopped the Republicans from keeping the Senate from functioning before. The Republicans undoubtedly see Reid's threats as empty as the liberal base does.
Delaying this until July in the hopes that Republicans mean it when they say they'll cooperate in creating substantive immigration reform seems to be a fool's errand. But what the hell. If Reid needs support from Democratic senators to do this, and thinks he can't do it until July, let's get him those Democratic senators.