Nuclear option averted as GOP blinks
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Senate leaders on Tuesday averted the “nuclear option” and threats of a Republican shutdown of the upper chamber by striking a major deal on executive branch nominees at the eleventh hour.
The agreement gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a major political victory. As a result, Democrats will gain a Senate-confirmed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a fully functioning National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), two agencies despised by many Republicans.
Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) announced the deal after meeting with their caucuses privately, paving the way for quick confirmation of seven of President Obama’s pending nominations.
Reid didn’t have to renounce the nuclear option as part of the deal, so he retains his stick to intimidate Republicans into confirming future nominees, such as Janet Napolitano’s successor at the Department of Homeland Security.