Senate Republicans are going to hold a marathon speaking session to delay the vote on Barack Obama’s latest judicial nominee, Nina Pillard. The GOPers are furious over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) use of the “nuclear option” that allows a simple majority in the Senate to change the rules, instead of the 67 votes that were needed before. Thirty-Six GOP senators have already signed up to speak for an hour, taking up 36 hours that would push the vote until the early hours of Friday morning.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, “What they did on this rules change [is] the first time in the history of the United States Senate that we changed the rules without 67 votes. The ill will that has been inflicted by that action is incalculable.”
Another GOP senator said, “When you blow up the Senate rules, there has to be a consequence … We’ll stretch this into the weekend if need be.”
Because of the delay, the confirmation of 10 of Obama’s nominees could be pushed back to Saturday night, and a bipartisan budget deal could have to wait until next week.
One Democratic aide sniffed, “All they’re doing is highlighting their own impotence. The Republicans no longer have the tools to delay that they had before.”
But a GOP aide said of the controversial pick of Pillard, “I imagine people will want a full and robust debate on this very controversial nominee,” while another aide added, “This is exactly the sort of nominee who had zero chances of confirmation before the nuclear option.”
One Democratic aide was sanguine about the GOP effort, saying, “We’re voting at 1 a.m. if Republicans keep playing their damn games.”