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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reid Plans ‘Ambitious’ Pre-Christmas Schedule For ‘Nuclear’ Senate -- PatDollard.com, The Hill

Excerpted from THE HILL:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to pass the budget deal and the Defense authorization bill and confirm a new secretary of Homeland Security … all by Friday.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide said last week that Reid also wants to move another batch of nominees, including Janet Yellen, who would become the first women to head the Federal Reserve.

Reid’s ambitious schedule, however, could hit a wall if Republicans are still angry about his use of the so-called “nuclear option” last month. The controversial tactic stripped the GOP of power to filibuster executive and judicial branch nominees.

Republicans refused to yield back procedural time on a group of nominees Reid brought to the floor last week, forcing the Democratic leader to schedule two all-night sessions in a row to burn off the clock.
Simmering GOP resentment could threaten the budget agreement negotiated by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which will come up for a vote Tuesday.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday the budget deal still doesn’t have the votes to pass. He anticipates as many as three Democratic defections.

“The struggle is still on in the United States Senate; we will need about eight Republicans to come our way,” he told CBS’s Bob Schieffer.

The budget deal needs 60 votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, and so far only Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have said they will vote for it.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R), McCain’s home-state colleague, and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said they will vote to end debate.

The three top Senate Republican leaders — Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and John Thune (R-S.D.) — have signaled their opposition to the deal.

Reid wants to move another batch of nominees, including Yellen and possibly John Koskinen, President Obama’s choice to head the IRS. The Senate Finance Committee approved Koskinen’s nomination Friday.
A Democratic aide said Koskinen’s nomination could “possibly” reach the floor this week.Keep Reading

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