AP reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that trying to change rules for Senate filibuster rules is no big deal. But it is enough of a deal to use it as a threat to require all of President Obama’s appointees without exception.
Reid told the Center for American Progress today that a deal to confirm less than seven of the appointees was not sufficient.
The rules for which he is threatening change, would allow a simple majority to approve a nominee, with an exception for judicial nominations. He described the change as minor and “no big deal.”
Reid said he will not attempt to change the filibuster rules.
Top leaders in the Senate have echoed Reid’s urgency requiring approval of all of the nominees. These includes Senator Mitch McConnell.
White House Press Secretary Carney has complained that Senate Republicans have obstructed the process of presidential appointments for no reason and with unnecessary effort.
The Senate has already approved 2 of the seven: Michael Froman as US Trade Representative; and Penny Pritzer as Secretary of Commerce.
Nominees set for a vote in the Senate include Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Thomas Perez as the Secretary of Labor. Three nominees for places on the National Labor Relations Board will also be considered.
Anthony Foxxe , the nominee for the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF) told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the ATF lacks accountability, attention to detail and a strong visionary leadership. He pointed out to the Committee that the President had put forth his name five months ago, on June 11, 2013, six months after the tragedy at Newport, Connecticut, at which 26 people lost their lives. This was one of several mass shootings over the past year that were the inspiration for the President and gun-control advocates to demand that the government takes steps to prevent further gun violence.
President Obama has opined that the Bureau was in distress when Foxxe took over as interim director. Foxxe has already made changes in 22 out of 25 field divisions.
Senators from both parties will meet tonight to avoid a fight over the proposed change in the rules regarding voting for appointments. Senator Reid has made it clear that he will seek to change the rules for voting for nominees unless all seven current nominees are approved.
By: Tom Ukinski