Posted: 07/09/2013 4:39 pm EDT | Updated: 07/09/2013 6:27 pm EDT
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled Tuesday that his Democratic caucus members are becoming so frustrated with Republicans blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees that they will again consider whether to invoke the so-called nuclear option to change Senate rules.
“I’m going to have a full meeting with my caucus on Thursday. We’re going to talk about nominations,” Reid said. He did not hint what he would do, but suggested his deliberations were far enough along that the sessions with his members would be decisive.
“I think Thursday, by the time the day’s out, you’ll have a better idea of what we’re going to try to do on this,” Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Senate Democrats had threatened to change rules at the start of the session to make filibusters more difficult, but settled on only mild reforms. At the time, Reid promised not to change the rules for the rest of the Senate session as long as the GOP members conducted themselves in the a less obstructive manner more in keeping with Senate history.
But soon thereafter, Republicans attempted the first-ever filibuster of a defense secretary nominee. They have also slow-walked numerous nominees, subjecting them to hundreds of questions before granting a vote — usually resulting in overwhelming confirmation.
The nuclear option involves using arcane Senate parliamentary procedures to force a simple majority vote, which would than set precedent for similar future votes. Many Democrats feel like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has broken his side of the agreement, and they may be prepared to break theirs.