Senate Poised For ‘Nuclear’ Battle Over Nominees

Source: Kasie Hunt and Carrie Dann / NBC News

Senate Democrats were poised Thursday to change one of the chamber’s most fundamental rules, a move which majority Democrats insisted was vital to clearing up a logjam of presidential nominees due to Republican obstruction.

“It’s time to change,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor as almost all members sat at their desks in the chamber.  “It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”

Reid asked for reconsideration of a vote on one of the previously blocked nominees, the first step in a process that could culminate in a vote on the rules change. That vote was 57-40, with three senators voting present.

Senate Democrats, frustrated with the Republican votes to block several of President Barack Obama’s appellate court picks, are trying to change the rules governing the chamber’s approval of most presidential nominees by invoking the “nuclear option” – an often-threatened procedural move that would diminish the minority party’s power.

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