Reid Says He Is Not About to Go ‘Nuclear’ Again

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted January 16, 2014 at 4:21pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., doesn’t expect Democrats to take steps any time soon to change Senate procedure, despite the current gridlock.

“I don’t think we are anywhere near that,” Reid said at a news conference when asked if Democrats were contemplating procedural changes given the standoff with the GOP over extending unemployment insurance.

“We hope that something will work,” Reid continued. “We’ve made progress on nominations, we’ll see what the next few weeks brings on that front.”

In late November, Senate Democrats used the so-called nuclear option to lower the hurdle for overcoming a filibuster on all nominations except those to the Supreme Court to a simple majority from 60 votes.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said after the news conference that there continues to be support among Democrats for the change and he noted it allowed them to fill three vacant seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is known as the second most powerful court in the land because of the importance of the regulatory cases it hears.

“One of the most significant things we have done is filling the DC Circuit … that will have an effect on generations,” Schumer said. “There is a lot of view in our caucus that that alone was worth the rule changes.”

“Obviously if we still can’t get appointments, or they are totally dragged out some members may ask to change the rules, but so far we just want to see what happens with the existing rules changes,” Schumer continued.