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Reid Digs In on ‘Nuclear Option’

Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Monday that unless all seven nominees on which he’s lined up filibuster-breaking votes get confirmed this week, he’s moving ahead with a plan to end blockades of administration nominations.

The Nevada Democrat also indicated that there will be no wiggle room for crisis averting “gangs.”

Speaking to a friendly audience at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event Monday morning, Reid dismissed Republican threats that his move to invoke a “nuclear option” could lead a future GOP majority to eliminate filibusters on judges or legislation.

“They would rue the day they did that,” Reid said of changing the rules for legislation, after a question about a suggestion from Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., that a GOP-led Senate would build a long-stalled nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Reid’s home state.

Asked if he had any further plans regarding rules, he said he did not.

“Nothing right now, but remember the Senate is an evolving body,” Reid said.

Reid repeated many of his lines from the Senate floor, including comparing the Obama administration to the Washington Nationals baseball team, suggesting that delays in confirming presidential nominees are akin to not allowing star players on the Nationals roster to play until June or after the All-Star break.

“There’s nothing wrong with these people. There’s nothing wrong with their qualifications,” Reid said, in reference to the roughly 1,100 written questions faced by the EPA administrator nominee, Gina McCarthy, during her confirmation process.

He also said that he didn’t view the current proposal as a very big deal.

“I’ve done it. We always do it. Simple majority when things don’t work,” Reid said. “Some of the Republican senators came back with this big, great idea.”

That idea was a bid by Republicans to force Democrats into tough procedural votes on amendments.

“I put up with this for a while,” Reid said, until he got frustrated and moved to change the precedent.

Those votes are scheduled to take place Tuesday, but both the Democratic and Republican caucuses are slated to meet Monday evening in the Old Senate Chamber to see if there is a way to avert the move.

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