Senate GOP to retaliate after Reid maneuver by withholding consent

Ed Morrissey

Harry Reid detonated his nuclear option to protect Barack Obama from his own jobs bill.  Now he and his caucus have to get ready for the fallout:

Senate Republicans vow they will retaliate for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to unilaterally change the Senate’s rules Thursday without prior warning or negotiation.

Republican aides say their bosses will now be even more reluctant to allow the Senate to conduct routine business by unanimous consent, forcing Reid to gather 60 votes for even the most mundane matters.

“Reid fired a major salvo and it’s hard to imagine a return shot won’t be fired. Maybe over the weekend they’ll come up with something and try to make it less worse than it already is,” said a Senate GOP leadership aide. …

Triggering what has come to be known as the chamber’s “nuclear option,” Reid overturned Senate precedent that allowed Republicans to force votes to proceed to non-germane amendments. He did so by voting with 50 of his Democratic colleagues to overturn a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian.

The controversial procedural tactic hasn’t been used in years. In a chamber where it requires the consent of all 100 senators to dispense with the reading of a bill, changing the rules unilaterally is considered bad form.

So what happens now?  Reid has essentially removed the leash on which McConnell kept his caucus.  Without the opportunity to force votes on amendments by sticking together, the Republican caucus is now a collection of 47 free agents.  Any one of those Senators can bring business in the upper chamber to a halt merely by objecting to requests for unanimous consent on routine business — say, dispensing with the reading of bills.   That would transform business that would normally take a couple of minutes into long, drawn-out votes to proceed that would take 60 votes to pass…

…At the beginning of the year, Reid and McConnell worked out an agreement to allow Republicans to offer limited amounts of amendments while Republicans promised to stop filibusters on motions to proceed (as opposed to motions to close debate and vote) unless the bill in question was very controversial.  All year long, though, Reid has aggressively filled the amendment “trees” to keep Republican amendments from being considered, which had already angered the GOP caucus.  After dropping this bombshell on them with no warning and no negotiation, Republicans aren’t going to be in a mood to attend Reid’s venting session or trust him to keep his word at all…

Read the complete article at


Comments are closed.