By Matt VespaWell, as the Left goes ballistic over the prospect of Sen. Jeff Sessions becoming our next attorney general and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as our new CIA director, they should know that Democrats have very little ground to oppose them. Thanks to outgoing Sen. Harry Reid’s (R-NV) nuking of the filibuster rules in 2013 for presidential appointments, with the exception of Supreme Court nominations, only a simple majority is needed to confirm Pompeo and Sessions (via Washington Post):
Senate Democrats are not going to be able to block Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions bid to become attorney general. And they can’t do much to stop Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo from assuming the helm of the CIA.
And they have only themselves to thank for it.
That’s because exactly three years ago, the Democratic Senate majority — led by Harry Reid (Nev.) — rammed through controversial rules fundamentally changing the way the Senate does business. They unleashed in November 2013 what’s called the “nuclear option” allowing senators to approve by a simple majority all presidential appointments to the executive branch and the judiciary, with a big exception for Supreme Court justices.
Democrats took the controversial step because they were so frustrated by what they saw as Republican foot-dragging on President Obama’s choices for his administration and federal judgeships. Under the new rules, it takes only a simple majority of senators to confirm such appointments instead of the 60 typically needed to force Senate action.
In 2013, then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned the GOP could easily seize power back in the 2014 elections – which they did, securing the majority in the Senate.
And that’s now what’s happened.
The publication added that Senate Democrats hope the nuclear option isn’t expanded to include Supreme Court nominations, and that Pompeo is making some people uneasy, namely Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), due to him being one of the firebrand members of the House Committee on Benghazi.
Well, too bad—Reid screwed you over. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he was against the 2013 nuking of the filibuster rules. This was inevitable. There is no such thing as permanent political majorities. Both parties have learned this brutally, Republicans post-2004 and Democrats post-2010.
The GOP was eventually going to retake the Senate and it would be Democrats possibly facing off against a majority that seems bound to confirm presidential nominees that are simply driving the Left nuts. Reid may have thought about this, but so what; he’s leaving. It’s someone else’s mess to clean up. That person would be Schumer.
It’s quite possible that Reid knew the dangers, but did it anyway for the few minutes of satisfaction he would receive in sticking it to the GOP.
Now, Donald J. Trump, who is anathema to progressives, has picked someone who is truly the anti-Holder, despite the fact that Sessions, who is being smeared as a horrible racist, supported Holder’s initial nomination as attorney general.
Reid is a man who totally screwed his party and left them defenseless to stop Trump nominees Democrats truly feel are unacceptable.
At the same time, it’s precedent, so maybe the Trump White House and Sessions should publicly thank Harry Reid for making these cabinet appointments super easy to confirm.
Trump can nominate anyone.