Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is becoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) favorite Republican.
Most recently, McCain led a group of Republicans who also supported the Senate’s immigration bill–Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC), John Hoeven (ND), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Lamar Alexander (TN), Bob Corker (TN)–to reach a deal with Reid to avert the so-called “nuclear option,” which Reid threatened to use this week.
As Politico notes, “three times this year, including on immigration, guns and now the nuclear-option fight, McCain has become the Republican whom Reid now trusts more than any other.”
This friendship–and willingness to work with Reid–is giving Democrats leverage. Politico reported that Reid would not commit to taking the nuclear option permanently off the table because “he and [Sen. Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] had won over McCain and the GOP bloc of senators.”
Reid made a deal with McCain’s group, getting a concession from the White House to replace two controversial National Labor Relations Board nominees. In return, Republicans would agree not to filibuster the new nominees and end the filibusters against Richard Cordray (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), Gina McCarthy (EPA head), and Tom Perez (Labor Secretary).
Reid, who had threatened to change the Senate’s rules to require only 51 votes instead of 60 to end a filibuster of executive nominees, agreed to not use the “nuclear option” but reserved the right to use it in the future, which was something Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was against.
McCain told the publication that he has a “a long history” with Reid, and there is a “bond that’s very deep and long between us.”