Senate Republicans Use Harry Reid’s Playbook

Senate Republicans have turned to using Harry Reid’s playbook in order to get President Trump’s Cabinet nominees confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Reid set things in motion on November 21, 2013 when he used the nuclear option in order to help Barack Obama. Here is an excerpt from a Washington Post story about that event:

“Senate Democrats took the dramatic step Thursday of eliminating filibusters for most nominations by presidents, a power play they said was necessary to fix a broken system but one that Republicans said will only rupture it further.

Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard for nearly four decades.

The immediate rationale for the move was to allow the confirmation of three picks by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — the most recent examples of what Democrats have long considered unreasonably partisan obstruction by Republicans.

In the long term, the rule change represents a substantial power shift in a chamber that for more than two centuries has prided itself on affording more rights to the minority party than any other legislative body in the world. Now, a president whose party holds the majority in the Senate is virtually assured of having his nominees approved, with far less opportunity for political obstruction.”

Reid prevented Senate Republicans from blocking presidential nominees. Now, Senate Republicans are taking a page from Reid’s playbook by preventing Senate Democrats from blocking presidential nominees.


“The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted unanimously to approve Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thursday is the second straight day the committee met to vote on Pruitt’s confirmation but it’s also the second straight day committee Democrats boycotted the hearing. Yesterday, the committee did not vote.

Today [02/02/17], the committee members in attendance, all Republican, voted unanimously to suspend the rules prior to the confirmation vote. Senate committee rules require at least one member of the minority party to be present in order to vote to recommend the nominee for a full Senate vote.

This is the same move the Senate Finance Committee used twice yesterday to send both Steve Mnuchin and Rep. Tom Price to a full Senate vote.”

The Hill quotes Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) as saying, “We took this extraordinary step because the minority members of the committee took the extraordinary step of boycotting the business meeting to approve an EPA administrator for an incoming administration.”

Of course, Democrats reacted to this change to Senate rules the same way they reacted to Harry Reid’s use of the nuclear option.

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Donald Trump is a monster!
  • Retired military

    About time that McConnell and gang got some balls. Of course it is only because they are scared of getting booted out of power next election because the base (remember Jeb Bush “base? base? who needs the base? I dont need no stinkin base” ) is behind Trump and his actions so far.

  • Scalia

    The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.

    John Philpot Curran

    • yetanotherjohn

      The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

      Thomas Jefferson

      • jim_m

        Which was precisely what I was thinking of when I posted this on the other thread:

        If there is one lesson we need to learn from the Civil War, it is that
        every hundred years or so we need to kill a few hundred thousand
        democrats to keep the Republic safe from tyranny.

        • Current estimates for Civil War Fatalities is 750,000.

          Out of a base of 31,000,000 in 1860. Assuming the same ratio for today’s population of 322,000,000 would yield

          ~7.8 Million fatalities.

          What say we skip that.

          • Scalia

            Yes, that would be horrific. If there are liberals out there who really believe in free speech and in our democratic republic, they had better speak up. I fear this could spin out of control very rapidly.

          • jim_m

            As Mattis said:

            “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it
            over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

            They want a war. They were flying banners saying that they are already at war with us. We should oblige them sooner rather than later. The longer we wait the worse it will be for us.

            What would you call losing 7 million of those at UC Berkeley this past week? A good start.

          • Retired military

            I don’t know. I can see SF and LA falling off into the ocean.

  • Retired military

    “Reid prevented Senate Republicans from blocking presidential nominees. Now, Senate Republicans are taking a page from Reid’s playbook by preventing Senate Democrats from blocking presidential nominees.”

    Make them live by their own rules – Alinsky 101

  • LiberalNightmare

    Its unfortunate that the current crop of libocrats seem unlikely to learn anything from this lesson.

  • Charles Harkins

    The republicans did not take a page out of Harry Reid’s playbook. The democrats took a page out of the Wisconsin democrat legislators playbook by trying to bring a legislature to a halt by boycotting meetings. Letting a committee grind to a halt because of what is a conspiracy to derail a committee’s work by extra legal means would have been a destructive precedent. That’s what Harry Reid did.

    • Scalia

      I hear what you’re saying, but the Democrats actually availed themselves of existing Senate rules. Like them (the rules) or not, the Dems didn’t do anything extra legal. In equal measure, the GOP also availed themselves of Senate rules to suspend the other rules which prevented the processing of a presidential nomination. Kudos to them for finding a spine and moving forward.

      • Charles Harkins

        You are right Scalia. The Dems used a rule that was intended to constrain the majority from meeting without informing the minority. The rule was clearly being abused because there was no good faith on their part and such a precedent would mean the minority would be able to stop anything in committee. You wouldn’t need a filibuster.

        • jim_m

          The filibuster was meant for an era where both parties had in their hearts the best interests of the United States. That is no longer the case with the democrats. They believe in holding power and using the force of the federal government to coerce the public into conforming to the social fantasy they have concocted in their heads.

          If you had an opposition that wanted to voice their opinions but that wanted the government to work, they would have shown up, just as the GOP did under 0bama. But that is no what the dems want. They want to force their views on an unwilling nation. THAT is what fascism looks like. That is what the left represents in America today.

  • Raaron

    What happened is that democrats were prevented from subverting the legitimate process. Full stop.

  • Vagabond661

    If I didn’t show up to do my job. I would be fired.


      Yeah, who else would they find to raise the Confede….oops, the battle flag in the morning.

      • Vagabond661

        Clearly your job is not witty comebacks.

  • pennywit

    I’m not fond of discarding long-standing norms, but this one probably had to go. According to the Constitution, the Senate’s role is to “advise and consent” on executive nominations. If the Framers wanted to require a Senate supermajority to approve a nominee, they would have written it into the Constitution.

    • Retired military

      But but ….. Trump….


        Good point, as he is a horse of a different color.