Nominations fight threatens start of Senate recess
December 18th, 2013
08:17 PM ET
9 years ago

Nominations fight threatens start of Senate recess

Washington (CNN) - Fallout from the so-called “nuclear option” Senate Democrats triggered last month - when they dramatically weakened the ability of minority Republicans to filibuster presidential nominees - continued to reverberate through the Capitol on Wednesday as GOP Senators threatened to keep the chamber working into the Christmas recess if Democrats insisted on approving a large slate of presidential nominees.

It remained unclear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would press ahead to clear the nominees or pull back from the brink and let senators return home for the holidays.

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Republicans vowed if Reid moved forward they would require the many hours allowed by Senate rules to debate each nominee.
That could stretch to Sunday or longer.

“They’re going to spend the time it takes,” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, warned Democrats.

Coburn has told Senators that he would be willing to stay in town, forcing Democrats to keep the Senate in session and be around for votes, so that other Republican Senators could return home.

Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell met Wednesday, but there was no word if they had made progress on the issue.

Republicans argue that none of the nominees is essential and Reid should adjourn the Senate for its two week recess and deal with it when the Senate reconvenes in January.

“There is nothing urgent about any of them,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee who blamed Democrats for the yuletide struggle between the parties. “They took away our right to influence the nominations so it’s up to them if they want to stay here until Sunday night.”

At issue are 10 nominees currently being filibustered by Republicans. They include Janet Yellen to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve; Alejandro Mayorkas to be the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, and John Koskinen to be IRS Commissioner.

Reid said he was “troubled” Republicans think these officials are not essential.

“The Senate could wrap up work on the budget bill, pass the Defense Authorization legislation and confirm these nominees by Thursday afternoon,” Reid said. “The only thing keeping us here is more Republican obstructionism.”

Despite all the huffing and puffing from both sides, several Senators said they thought the lure of a Christmas recess would be more powerful than another standoff.

“There is nothing stronger than the smell of jet fumes on a Friday and that intoxicating effect is never stronger than during the holidays,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, who predicted that “members are in the mood for a Christmas truce.”

Filed under: Senate • Senate Democrats • Senate Republicans
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Randy, San Francisco

    This is the new image of the rebranded Republican Party: Scrooge of Christmas Past mumbling "Bah Humbug."

    December 18, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. Peppy

    Breaks my heart these people really have to accomplish something. If all you lazy fools would of done ANYTHING this year you wouldn't be here right now. Personally, I think they should fire all of them, both houses, both parties.

    December 18, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. boombu

    In this matter of qualities of management there are no golden rules

    December 18, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Ah, make the GOP stay till Monday Harry. They don't do anything anyway!!!!!

    December 18, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  5. termlimits

    If we go down that dark road to socialism, let us find a way to have these puppets of appeasement vanish into the future of dust.

    December 18, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. zoomzoom

    These `non-essential` Republicans should all be voted out of the most despicable congress EVER in the history of the United States! Why not vote on getting our soldiers out of Afghanistan NOW so they can have a nice Holiday? But the pols will go home 2 their mansions + forget the sacrifices these men + women make on a daily basis! How sad + yet these other petty issues take precedent. Time 2 reevaluate your priorities Republicans + get US out of that war that is + always be 2 no avail!

    December 19, 2013 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  7. troppo1

    Hold the line reid, if the repubs gets used to doing their job more often, then just maybe they will start doing their job without all the obstruction.

    December 19, 2013 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  8. RomneyWho

    This is the best time to give em hell Harry! 🙁

    December 19, 2013 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  9. Carl Houston

    Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi make me ill when I think of how dingy they were over "We will have to pass the health bill before we can read what is in it. The Dems have weakened the ability of Republicans to fillebuster Presidential nominees. Not good. We need people to understand the path these liberals are taking us down is a path that will cause us to lose more and more of our freedom.

    December 19, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  10. Marie MD

    Imagine that, the senate would not be able to go home and spend weeks at home during the holidays while some Americans don't get or can't get a break during the same holidays.
    So sad!

    December 19, 2013 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  11. nagrad

    I work through Tuesday. I don't see why they think it's a big deal that they have to work until Sunday.

    Our elected officials need to spend a year in a real job and remember that they get a whole lot more time off (and other benefits) then the rest of the country.

    December 19, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  12. sammy750

    The GOP Senators are the Terrorist of this country. There only mission is to block all nominations and bills. Sometime the voters will get smart and defeat them. The GOP has only one mission to destroy the USA.

    December 19, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Just confirm the appointees, then sometime in the next century when republicans finally regain the White House, democrats will confirm their president's nominees after only two years into his term.

    December 19, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |