Back in 2013, frustrated with Republicans opposition to President Obama’s appointments, Nev. Sen. Harry Reid used the “nuclear option” after he was warned by many that he would regret it someday.
And now someday has arrived.
The “nuclear option” meant that rather than needing 60 votes being needed to confirm the president’s appointments, Reid and his Democrat colleagues changed the rules so that all that was needed was a simple majority of 51 Senators, coincidentally the number of senators Republicans now have.
That means that no matter how much huffing and puffing the Democrats do over President-elect Trump’s appointments after he takes office in January there isn’t anything they can do to stop them as long as the vote goes along party lines.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence holds the tie-breaking vote.
Still Democrats, at least publicly, claim they don’t regret changing the rules.
“Sen. Reid has no regrets on invoking the nuclear option because of Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction.” Kristen Orthman, a spokeswoman for Sen. Reid, told the Washington Post. “If Republicans want to go on record supporting radicals, that’s their decision and they will have to live with it.”
Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley told the paper he had “absolutely no regret”
But incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said he wanted to keep the 60 vote threshold for cabinet and Supreme Court appointments but failed in his efforts to persuade his colleagues.
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby warned Democrats at the time that their short term gain was going to bite them in the long run.
“Democrats won’t be in power in perpetuity. This is a mistake — a big one for the long run. Maybe not for the short run. Short-term gains, but I think it changes the Senate tremendously in a bad way,” he said at the time.
And now Democrats are going to be helpless to stop Trump and they only have themselves to blame.
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