Dems Resume ‘Nuclear Option’ Threats to Bypass GOP, Confirm Obama Nominees

Photo Credit: Susan Walsh/APSome Senate Democrats resumed calls for the so-called “nuclear option” Thursday after Senate Republicans blocked two presidential nominees.

Republicans have blocked the nomination of Democratic Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the nomination of Patricia Millett to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Washington, D.C. Circuit by voting against cloture, effectively filibustering the nominations.

If invoked, the nuclear option would allow Democrats to push through presidential nominations without any support from Senate Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell struck a deal in January to avert the nuclear option. In July, the two again negotiated on a “new normal,” in Reid’s words, to streamline the process for confirming presidential nominees. The deal, Reid said at the time, was that “Qualified executive nominees must not be blocked on a procedural supermajority vote.” An exception was made for “extraordinary circumstances.”

But after the Watt and Millett votes, the nuclear option is back on the table, some Democrats have declared.

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