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(Cross-posted at the Makeshift Academic)

So life in a post-nuclear Senate kicked off on Monday night.

We'll take the play-by-play from the Senate Democrats' floor report.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada) opened the proceedings at 6:43 p.m. by causally strolling up to the mike and agreeably asking for unanimous consent to move on all 80 executive and judicial nominations on the calendar.

(Did you see that, kids?  That's how you troll a legislative minority.)

Naturally, a Republican Senator (Lamar Alexander of Tennessee) objected, noting acidly that he wanted to see how the Senate would work without rules.

At 6:55 p.m. Reid then filed for cloture votes on 10 nominations. The first one of these for will occur on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m.

After each cloture vote, the motion will have to "ripen," meaning that debate and other parliamentary maneuvers can consumer up to a certain amount of time post-cloture.  According to the current rules, this time can exceed no more than 30 hours for cabinet-level posts or equivalents (Supreme Court Justices, Circuit Court Justices Federal Reserve Chairs, etc). For all other executive appointments, the amount of time is 8 hours, and for district judges the time is two hours.

So the first confirmation up is Nina Pollard at 10 a.m. local time for the D.C Circuit Court (Her cloture motion passed before the Thanksgiving recess, so the 30 hours on her motion has expired)

Starting Wednesday, we'll see cloture votes on four district court judges, five mid-level executive appointments and the Secretary for Homeland Security, Jeh Charles Johnson.

List of upcoming confirmations:

Elizabeth A. Wolford (Western District New York -- a judicial emergency)
Landya B. McCafferty (District of New Hampshire)
Brian Morris (District of Montana -- judicial emergency)
Susan P. Watters (District of Montana -- judicial emergency)

Executive appointments
Jeh Charles Johnson (Secretary of Homeland Security)
Deborah Lee James (Secretary of the Air Force)
Heather Anne Higginbottom (Deputy Sec. of State for Management & Resources)
Anne W. Patterson (Assistant Secretary of State, Near Eastern Affairs)
Chai Rachel Feldblum (Member, Equal Opportunity Commission)
Patricia M. Wald (Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board)

Some of these are boring, but putting them in place makes the government work that much better.

I would imagine that the other D.C. circuit justices, Melvin Watt at the Federal Housing Administration and Janet Yellen at the Federal Reserve, along another half dozen or so district judges and numerous other mid-level appointments will follow in short order next week.

The gears of functioning government are grinding slowly into motion. The post-cloture time is going to slow things down some, but people can't be blocked indefinitely now.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how many 30 hour delays will it take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    until either a) even the republicans realize how bad it looks and let it go or b) the democrats say enough and change the rules again?

    •  Answer: all of them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      awcomeon, librarisingnsf

      The Republicans' strategy has been to obstruct absolutely everything. No reason to change that strategy now.

      As to when Harry will have enough of it, I'm guessing he won't do anything about it. You see how long it took just to get this far.

      •  It isn't Reid (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's Carl Levin, who refuses to have anything to do with filibuster reform. Fortunately, he is retiring.

        It's Pat Leahy, Judiciary Committee Chairman, who has not rolled back the blue-slip process by which Republican Senators can block judicial appointments to courts in their home states because he can't believe that they will abuse it.

        It's Dianne Feinstein, who came late to filibuster reform and, separately, thinks the NSA is almost totally fine and dandy.

        and a few more like them. When Reid has had the votes for the so-called nuclear option, he has let it be known that he was ready to use them in order to get nominations through, and most recently has actually used them when the Republicans refused to let anything through.

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 04:02:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  no Senate recess until ALL 80 nominations confirmd (6+ / 0-)

    Reid needs to ACT on these long-stalled nominations and not just posture.

    He needs to keep the Senate in session - no recess for the end of the year as presently scheduled to start on Friday - until all 80 of the current nominations are voted on.

    Keep the Senate in session around the clock, through the weekend and day after day until all 80 are voted on.

    If the Republicans want to delay these, let them but Reid needs to be smart and outlast them - keep the Senate in session until the Senate completes its Constitutional obligation to "advise and consent" on all of these.

    What I suspect will happen instead is that the Senate will act on some of these - and, getting tired and not used to working as hard or as long hours as the rest of us, will recess for a month or whatever through the start of 2014.


  •  Holding up Higginbottom makes them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf, myboo

    look bad on Embassy security (BENGHAZI!!!), since her remit includes Diplomatic Security.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 06:20:40 AM PST

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