According to a senior Senate Democratic aide, this means that Reid will file cloture on the following nominations today: Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Gina McCarthy as head of the Environmental Protection Agency; Obama’s picks to the National Labor Relations Board; and possibly Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary.In Thursday morning's exchange, McConnell suggested that Republicans would let McCarthy and Perez through, but continued his strenuous objections to Cordray and the NLRB nominations. Those nominations, Reid pointed out in his remarks, have been held up by Republicans not because the nominees are controversial, but because Republicans just don't like the law, saying, "[t]hey are blocking qualified nominees because they refuse to accept the law of the land."
For some historical context on where the Senate sits right now, People for the American Way provides this:
From 1949 (when Senate rules were changed to provide for cloture on nominations) through 2008, cloture votes were forced on only 20 executive branch nominations. However, in just the first four and a half years of the Obama administration, there have already been 16 such cloture votes, on the nominations of: Cass Sunstein (OMB), Robert Groves (Census), Harold Koh (State Department), Chris Hill (Ambassador to Iraq), David Hayes (Interior), Ben Bernanke (Federal Reserve), M. Patricia Smith (Labor Department), Martha Johnson (GSA), Craig Becker (NLRB), Lael Brainard (Treasury Department), James Cole (DOJ), Richard Cordray (CFPB), Norman Eisen (Ambassador to Czech Republic), Mari Aponte (Ambassador to El Salvador), Chuck Hagel (DOD), and John Brennan (CIA).In the next five days, Harry Reid and the reformers in the caucus—Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM)—have to convince 50 of the remaining senators in the Democratic caucus that it's time to do something about that, and that they can't be content to just deal with Republicans to allow a few nominees in and call that an acceptable outcome. In the next five days, Democratic senators have to hear from their constituents that this would not be an acceptable outcome.
That’s an increase of more than 1,000% in the rate of forced cloture votes on nominations—20 nominations on which cloture votes were forced in sixty years compared to 16 in just four and a half. Republicans are on pace to force 28 cloture votes by the end of the Obama administration—more than under all previous presidents combined.