Reid’s Nuclear Option … Not Just About Presidential Nominees

The Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, has been waving the idea of a “nuclear option” around like a sword to threaten Republicans with the idea that if they try to filibuster the nominations that Barack Obama is making to things such as the National Labor Relations Board, the upcoming transition to a new Federal Reserve chairman, the numberless “bundlers” that are being rewarded by way of appointment to ambassadorships, he will change the Senate rules, from currently requiring a 60 vote super-majority, to a mere 51 vote simple majority to invoke cloture on any filibuster resisting such appointments.

Republicans, conservatives in general and the Tea Party in particular have decried this, and have been extremely critical of Senator Mitch McConnell for negotiating what they see as a surrender of their values to Harry Reid’s procedural blackmail.

But if Reid had exercised his “nuclear option” regarding cloture, the endemic Law of Unintended Consequences that haunts both houses of Congress could have been loosed in situations other than filibusters against presidential appointments.

With Detroit’s recent filing for bankruptcy, and Jay Carney’s coy references to Obama offering “assistance” (not a bailout, oh, no, definitely not a bailout) to Detroit, and the currently impossible financial situations in California, New York and Illinois, maintaining the requirement in the Senate for a 60 vote super-majority to invoke cloture might be the only thing that would prevent Democrats in the Senate from railroading an “assistance” bill through along a party line vote.

The standard Democrat answer to any problem is to throw truckloads of money at it, and yet it does not worry their pretty little heads if it actually ameliorates the problem or not.  They seem to take the attitude that if the problem doesn’t magically heal itself, they can always throw more money at it.

Well, once they start throwing money at Detroit, as sure as God made little apples, every political subdivision of the country, whether a state, county, city, town, village or hamlet, will be lined up with their hands out for their “share”.  After all, they will argue, it’s only fair.  It’s only “social justice”.  And if they only needed 51 votes, rather than 60, to prevent Republicans from filibustering such legislation, the odds are slightly better that they could push such “assistance” through the Senate.

The House has always dealt with the target of 218 votes to pass anything, and it only takes eight states to get very close to that level.


           Number of House Members





New York








New Jersey






At 191 votes, the Democrats would only need another twenty-seven votes, from the remaining forty-two states, to pass a bill providing “assistance”.  That’s less than one extra vote per state. Any Republicans in the crucial eight states would be committing political suicide by voting against such a measure, so that is very unlikely.

This scenario would mean that the Senate would be the only bulwark against passage of such “assistance”.

Keeping the Senate rule calling for a sixty vote super-majority to invoke cloture to end a filibuster might be the best thing that Senator McConnell has ever accomplished in the Senate.


About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
Gallery | This entry was posted in 2014 election, Barack Obama, Constitution, Democrats, Department of Labor, Elections, National Labor Relations Board, Political Doubletalk, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Tea_Parties and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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