Late deal prevents partisan fight over judges
March 14th, 2012
05:36 PM ET
3 years ago

Late deal prevents partisan fight over judges

Washington (CNN) - A major standoff in the Senate over confirming federal judges fizzled Wednesday when Democratic and Republican leaders reached a last minute compromise.

The deal, which gave each side a partial victory, prevented what was likely to be another ugly episode of partisan politics from playing out on the Senate floor.

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At issue was the refusal by Republicans - still angry over President Obama's recent recess appointments of controversial nominees - to confirm quickly 17 district court judges, none of whom is controversial, though some have waited months for Senate action. Working with the support of the White House, Senate Democrats threatened to force Republicans to cast high-profile votes to continue their filibusters against the judges even though Republicans had personally backed some of the nominees.

Republicans denied they were filibustering the judges and argued each would likely get confirmed in the near future. They accused Democrats of "manufacturing a crisis," in the words of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in order to paint Republicans as obstructionists.

"What the president wants is to distract the country from his failed policies that have led to soaring gas prices and high unemployment, and instead try to write a narrative of obstruction for his campaign," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Republicans urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to drop the time-consuming votes on the 17 judges and turn to a bipartisan, job-creating, small business bill that overwhelmingly passed the House last week and has the support of the White House.

The gentlemen's agreement between Reid and McConnell will allow for 14 judges to be confirmed by May 7th, according to a Democratic leadership aide who described it as "a step forward" in the pace of confirmations.

A Republicans leadership aide confirmed that as many as 14 judges could be confirmed over the next two months but characterized it as "return to the normal process of confirming nominees" and "basically the pace we've been on."

Reid and McConnell also agreed to take up the small business bill as early as Thursday. Republicans claimed that as a victory although Democrats, who control the chamber, said it was their plan all along to move next to that bill.

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Filed under: Congress • Democrats • Republicans
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If the republicans were serious about lowering gas prices, they would stop oil speculation.

    March 14, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    ""What the president wants is to distract the country from his failed policies that have led to soaring gas prices and high unemployment, and instead try to write a narrative of obstruction for his campaign," McConnell said on the Senate floor."

    Wow.

    1. Obama's policies aren't the cause of high gas prices. No sane, educated, non-partisan economist would tell you that abotu a POTUS from either party.

    2. Beaker really goes off the deep end saying that Obama's policies had "led to...high unemployment." They have not. 8 years of GOP nonsense led to record breaking high unemployment and a Dem POTUS getting handed an economy shrinking by 750,000+ jobs per month. We have now had 24 months (yes, that goes back BEFORE the Nov. 2010 election) of job growth and recovery, albeit purposefully slowed by the GOP via their debt ceiling and shutdown shenanigans.

    3. Obama doesn't have to write a narrative of obstruction for his campaign. The GOP/Teatrolls have written it for him right in the historical record. Of course, that just means the GOP/Teatrolls will simply ignore the facts and attempt to reqrite history and the MSM will glibly and uncritically print every single claim they make about it without once assessing its truthfulness.

    March 14, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "The gentlemen's agreement between Reid and McConnell will allow for 14 judges to be confirmed by May 7th, according to a Democratic leadership aide who described it as "a step forward" in the pace of confirmations."

    And watch how fast the GOPers/Teatrolls renege on the agreement once they get what they want...just like they're almost cerrtainly going to do with respect to the debt limit deal.

    March 14, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Talkytalk

    At the end of the day the reality that we see around us and impacts our lives daily cannot be ignored that we have had a higher unemployment with Obama than we did with Bush ( even if the GOP/Teatrolls were to attempt to rewrite history). No matter how much it is written to show favor with Obama people will judge his job performance by looking at their employment, checkbooks, bills, peace of mind and will see that things were better with Bush than Obama.

    March 14, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. PJ/TX

    Sniffit:
    Right On! I hope people start listening to you and others who are setting the record straight. The lies have gone on
    way too long, and they need to be challenged, publically and without hesitation.

    March 14, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. Facepalm28

    Hmm, so at the end of all of this (assuming everyone keeps their end of the bargains):

    – most of the judges will be confirmed
    – a jobs-related bill both sides agree on will be taken up quickly
    – both sides will end up doing what they claimed they wanted to do anyway
    – no major crisis or brinksmanship game will take place over these issues

    Still a bit of a disfunctional functioning, but at least it's functioning a bit. Both sides actually managed to figure out that compromising to move forward was better than holding out for everything and getting nowhere. If only we could see more of this (I'm looking at you, Tea Party).

    March 14, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  7. rossdunie

    The only thing it seems the republicans are serious about is putting this country in the worst position possible then blaming it on Obama. Porblem is, those of us that choose to stay informed see that FAILED plan for what it is.

    March 14, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. fullclarity

    Give it up, Mitchie, because you really should know better. Your remarks are nothing by partisanship.

    March 14, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Sniffit
    ... Beaker really goes off the deep end saying that Obama's policies had "led to...high unemployment." They have not. 8 years of GOP nonsense led to record breaking high unemployment and a Dem POTUS getting handed an economy shrinking by 750,000+ jobs per month. We have now had 24 months (yes, that goes back BEFORE the Nov. 2010 election) of job growth and recovery, albeit purposefully slowed by the GOP via their debt ceiling and shutdown shenanigans.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Except that the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't agree with you. Two months after Obama, Pelosi and Reid took office, unemployment jumped to over 9%, went up to 10% by November 2010 elections and didn't get back down below 9% until 2 months after the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. It has been coming down since then.
    Speaker Boehner has been doing an excellent job considering why American voters gave Republicans the House. Finally someone in Washington giving results to those of us outside of DC.

    March 14, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Republicans can see the hand writing on the wall. Dem landslide coming, their reward for obstructionism!!!

    March 14, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Mcconnell is history in the next election. Time to get rid of the crooks in congress.

    March 14, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Len

    I am so tired of the GOP.....America, please wake up and do do the same thing we did in 2010.........The Tea Party and the radical right and destroying our rights. They are putting Government in our lives, and more....wake up!!!

    March 14, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. Len

    Should be do not do the same thing we did in 2010.

    March 14, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. kateslate

    The whole thing is laughable. How does anything related to this have to do with the price of gas or unemployment? It has to do with CONFIRMING JUDGES for Pete's sake! No relation. Outrageous. Just outrageous.

    March 14, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. daris

    We have truth in advertise. We need truth in your polites. How can their repub keep lying and be allow to get away with it.

    March 14, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Tony in Maine

    Mitch McConnell has a safe Senate seat and, in any event, is not up for reelection at this time. However, voters can reject his "leadership" by voting for te Democratic nominee in every race which is in play. If the Democrats held 65-70 seats, McConnell would be neutered. Not a bad idea in reality too.

    March 14, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |