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Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell
Talks continued into Monday night and Tuesday morning after no deal emerged from the all-Senate meeting to avert filibuster rules reform. Late Monday evening, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered to allow majority votes on all seven of the nominees that Majority Leader Harry Reid has brought to the floor in exchange for a promise from Reid to not use the nuclear option for the remainder of the session. Reid refused.
“When McConnell met with Reid, he said we’ll let these guys through if you unilaterally disarm, and Reid rejected the offer,” the Democratic aide said.
“It sounds like an array of options were talked about, but no commitment from Reid to not just keep using the threat of nuclear option over and over again,” the GOP aide said. [...]

“We’re fighting for the principle that executive nominees should get up-or-down votes,” the senior Democratic aide said. “If Republicans will give us that, there’s a chance we won’t go nuclear, but we will maintain the ability to go nuclear if they start filibustering nominees again.”

As of now, the votes are still on. The first test vote will happen around 11 ET this morning for Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board. If he gets more than 60 votes, which is likely, then there will be eight hours of "debate" on his nomination. Republicans could choose to give their time back and not use up the eight hours, but that's highly unlikely. Negotiations on the remaining nominees will continue. The next two up are the key to the current impasse, the National Labor Relations Board nominees.

Republicans have essentially relented on all of the nominees except the two NLRB picks, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. They want substitute choices for those nominees, reportedly any two new nominees of President Obama's choice. What that gives the Republicans is the continued dysfunctional NLRB. The deadline for confirmation on these appointments is August 27. Two new candidates would have to be vetted, passed through committee and brought to the floor in record time, all before the Senate goes into its August recess beginning August 5. That's essentially impossible.

If Democrats are really fighting for the principle that the president gets to pick his nominees, they have to say no to Republicans. The minority does not get to call the shots, does not get to bargain for their choices. Bargaining this way, failing to have an up or down vote on the president's choice of nominees, would set a new, dangerous precedent. That would be worse than the nuclear option.

Keep up the pressure. Send an email to Harry Reid and your Democratic senators telling them to refuse to negotiate away the president's nominees.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 07:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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