The obstruction from the Democrats in Congress has gone on long enough.
And it looks like the Republicans are finally at the end of their rope with it.
Now comes new reports that the Republicans are ready to use the so-called “nuclear option” to speed up confirmation on Trump judges and appointees.
For many, this can’t come soon enough!
Here's what Politico had to say:
Senate Republicans are moving to speed up the confirmation process for nominees, in an aggressive bid to stymie Democrats’ ability to delay President Donald Trump’s appointments.
The GOP-led Senate Rules Committee approved procedural changes on a 10-9 party-line vote Wednesday that would limit debate time for most nominees. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't made a final decision on the measure but is expected to bring it to the floor within the next few weeks, senators said.
Republicans may need to use the unilateral "nuclear option" to pass it, in what would be the latest instance of a Senate majority sidelining the minority party to change the chamber’s rules.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who is close to McConnell and worked on past rules changes to move confirmations more quickly during Barack Obama's presidency, said McConnell is expected to move imminently on the Senate floor.
“My instinct is that the problem needs to be solved and it will be solved soon after [next week's] recess,” Alexander said. “I don't see any appetite for delaying it. I think it will be decided, probably, by the end of March.”
In the short term, the move would dramatically aid the Senate GOP at a time of divided government and when confirming nominees is a top priority. The measure would limit debate time after procedural votes to two hours for most nominees once cloture is invoked. Under current rules, the post-debate time is 30 hours.
Republicans have tried to convince Democrats that the change would also help them when they win the White House and Senate in the future, allowing them to similarly steamroll the minority's procedural power.
"The leader wants to be able to bring this to a vote, set a date for it and then have broad conversations across the whole [Republican] conference and Democrats. ... It's hard to get anyone to talk seriously until you know there's a debate," said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.).
And from CNN:
A bitterly divided Senate committee Wednesday approved on a party line vote changes to Senate rules that will allow the Republican majority to speed confirmations of most of President Donald Trump's nominees.
Republicans backed the proposal, which would limit debate time on nominees, arguing during a spirited session of the Senate Rules Committee that it was the only way to overcome what they described as unprecedented obstruction by Democrats of Trump's executive branch and judicial appointments.
The full Senate would need to approve the plan before it takes effect. No vote has yet been scheduled. But Republicans are also weighing using the "nuclear option" to force the change over the objection of Democrats. Such a move would further inflame Democrats because it would lower the threshold for a rule change to a simple majority.
If adopted, the rule changes would lower from 30 hours to two hours the debate time allowed once a filibuster has been defeated. The change would apply to almost all judicial and executive branch nominees but not picks for high-level positions, such as Cabinet officials, federal appellate court judges and the members of the Supreme Court.
Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt, a Republican of Missouri who sponsored the measure, said Trump's nominees have faced 128 filibusters by Democrats, many more than the nominees of the several presidents before Trump did combined.
"Presidents deserve to have their teams in place," Blunt said, noting the changes would apply even if a Democrat won the White House in 2020. "Never before have we seen the level of obstruction in the confirmation process in the first two years of a presidency."
Republicans are also weighing using the "nuclear option" to force the change on the Senate floor over the objection of Democrats. Such a move would further inflame Democrats because it would let Republicans make the rule change with a simple majority vote instead of a super majority typically required for a change of Senate rules.
Lastly, the Washingon Examiner also confirmed the story:
Senate Republicans on Wednesday moved ahead with a change to Senate rules that would significantly speed up most judicial and executive branch nominees by permanently slashing debate time.
The resolution was approved along party lines in the Senate Rules Committee. It will next head to the Senate floor for a vote, where the so-called nuclear option will be employed to pass it with just 51 votes instead of the typical 60, which will prevent Democrats from blocking it or having any say on the matter.
The rule change would specifically slash debate time from 30 hours to two hours for sub-Cabinet level executive branch nominees and district court judges.
The resolution advanced after a tense debate that showcased the the partisan tension over confirmations that has been escalating for years as party control of the Senate has repeatedly changed hands and each party accused the other of obstructing nominees.
Republicans said the change is necessary now to reduce a backlog of Trump nominees who have stalled because Democrats have dragged out debate time even when they do not oppose the nominee. Republicans said Democrats are stalling to keep President Trump from staffing his Cabinet and from filling court vacancies.
“It’s pretty obvious the sole purpose is to eat up floor time,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a member of the Rules panel.
Democrats opposed the rule, even though it mimicked a deal approved temporarily under the Democratic majority in the 113th Congress.
The ranking Democrat on the panel, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who is running for president, said it is critical senators have adequate time to vet nominees.
“This is not the time to cede this chamber’s ability to do due diligence by removing the guardrails to ensure judicial nominees have the qualification to serve a lifetime appointment on the federal bench," she said.
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