On his blog at the Washington Post, Greg Sargent reports that Harry Reid is gearing up to exercise the “nuclear option” in July and that the president is right behind him:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is increasingly focused on the month of July as the time to exercise the so-called “nuclear option” and revisit filibuster reform, and he has privately told top advisers that he’s all but certain to take action if the Senate GOP blocks three upcoming key nominations, a senior Senate Democratic aide familiar with his thinking tells me.
Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says, adding that senior Democrats expect the President to publicly push for it as well. “If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,” the aide says.
Reid is eyeing a change to the rules that would do away with the 60-vote threshold on all judicial and executive branch nominations, the aide says, on the theory that this is a good way to immediately break an important logjam in Washington — without changing the rules when it comes to legislation.
Back in 2005, when Republican majority leader Bill Frist indicated that he would use the ‘nuclear option’ in order to push through President Bush’s stalled appellate court choices — a much more modest proposal, although still misguided — Democrats including Barack Obama and Harry Reid reacted like this: