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U.S. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens during remarks about leadership elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 16, 2010.   REUTERS/Jim Young
Mitch McConnell on a crash course to crisis.
Republicans in the Senate have vowed to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by continuing to block confirmation of the agency's director, any director. It's not opposition to the individual, Richard Cordray, that is driving them. It's fealty to Wall Street and utter disregard for constitutional, governmental norms. Steve Benen talks about just how radical what the Senate Republicans are doing is.
What we're talking about here is a shrinking Senate minority pursuing a nullification strategy -- they want to nullify federal law by abusing procedural tactics in a way that's literally never been done in the United States.

If Senate Republicans want changes to the CFPB, there's already a mechanism in place that allows them to pursue reforms: it's called the existing legislative process. Senators can write a bill, send it to committee, try to persuade their colleagues of the proposal's merit, debate it on the floor, vote for it, etc.

But that takes time and effort, and it might not work, especially since the changes the GOP wants are absurd. So, instead, Republicans intend to block existing federal law from taking effect unless Democrats accept changes demanded by financial industry lobbyists.

As Benen says, it's nullification through extortion. They're demanding that federal law be ignored, unenforced, unless the changes to the CFPB they and their puppet-masters want are made. They are not doing this through the normal, regular, constitutional legislative process, but through an unprecedented filibuster. Just days after ostensibly agreeing with their votes for reform that the filibuster was being abused and, boy, they sure weren't going to do that anymore.

By systematically refusing to confirm President Obama's nominees, eschewing their constitutional advise and consent mandate, and by trying to force changes to existing law through extortion and exploiting Senate procedure, what the Senate Republicans are doing could indeed prompt a constitutional crisis. One alternative, and one that gets more attractive by the moment, is that Harry Reid goes "nuclear," changing filibuster rules with a simple majority vote mid-session. In the face of such extreme Republican behavior, it might be the only rational response.

Please sign our petition urging Harry Reid to re-open the process of filibuster reform in the Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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