Dem. challenge to GOP Rules on Filibusters has Sen. McConnell making treats.

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“WHERE's DA JOBS Boehner? ”

Since: Dec 08

Carswell Hollow, W.Va.

#1 Jul 9, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/us/politics...

WASHINGTON — In a move that could bring to a head six months of smoldering tensions over a Republican blockade of certain presidential nominees, Senate Democrats are preparing to force confirmation votes on a series of President Obama’s most contentious appointments as early as this week.

If Republicans object, Democrats plan to threaten to use the impasse to change the Senate rules that allow the minority party wide latitude to stymie action.

Through the filibuster and other delaying tactics, Republicans have slowed the confirmation process as the president tries to install the team that will carry him through his second term. But Democrats and their majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, now say they have reached the point where they believe that the only way to break the logjam is to escalate the fight.

Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, one of the most outspoken members of his party in calling for new limits on the filibuster, said,“They’ve essentially said they are going to disable the executive branch if a minority of the Senate disagrees with or dislikes the president the people elect.” He added,“It’s come into a realm where it’s just unacceptable because if the executive branch can’t function, then the nation can’t respond to the big challenges it faces.”

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, is so alarmed by the threat of a filibuster rule change that he has gone on the Senate floor nearly every day the chamber is in session for the last month to warn of the consequences.

“Majorities are fleeting, but changes to the rules are not,” Mr. McConnell said recently.“And breaking the rules to change the rules would fundamentally change this Senate.”

Mr. Reid has held off on forcing the issue until now, worried that a fight over the filibuster would disrupt the delicate negotiations over immigration legislation. It is also uncertain whether at least 51 Democrats would go along with a rules revision given how cautiously senators weigh even the slightest change to how their body functions.

But with the Senate now clear of the immigration debate, having passed a comprehensive bill before its July 4 recess, Democratic leaders have said they see no reason to wait any longer.

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