The full Senate met this evening for three and a half hours in the Old Senate Chamber in a rare full caucus to discuss filibuster rules. As of now, no deal have been struck. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a
very short statement
as the meeting broke up: "The conversation is going to continue tonight. Votes are scheduled at 10 in the morning."
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) spoke briefly with reporters as well, as the meeting broke up. He said that Republicans were "willing to do two nominations, but the Democrats aren't willing, and that the "NRLB is the real point of contention." The Republicans believe they were "illegally made," though Republicans would apparently be willing to allow Richard Cordray, who—if the Republicans were being honest—was also an "illegal" recess appointment. Republicans aren't being honest. They want to kill the NRLB.
Before the meeting convened details of Sen. John McCain's bad deal emerged, and they're actually worse than originally hinted. Here's what McCain has offered on behalf of Republicans.
McCain told Reid he found the six GOP senators needed to join Democrats in breaking filibusters of the nominations, giving Democrats a key part of what they want: approval of Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
McCain told Reid that in exchange, the president would have to agree to withdraw two nominees for the National Labor Relations Board whom Mr. Obama had put in office by recess appointment, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. Republicans disputed those appointments, and the Supreme Court agreed to take up the case.
Republicans would be happy to confirm
three other NLRB nominees, two of which are Republicans. That would give the NLRB a quorum to continue to function: a quorum dominated by Republican members.
The Democratic president's NRLB would thus be in Republican hands. Compromise!
"It's almost like the 2012 election never happened," said Bill Samuel, director of government affairs at the AFL-CIO labor federation. "It's not an offer—it's a charade."
Keep up the pressure through Tuesday morning. Send an email to Harry Reid and your Democratic senators telling them to hang tough and to vote for real filibuster reform.
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