The Senate leadership struck a last-minute deal to avoid a nuclear option on the filibuster.
In short, Republicans would confirm nominees to all seven positions, a big concession for the GOP. But in a concession for Democrats, they would replace two recess-appointed nominees to the National Labor Relations Board — Sharon Block and Richard Griffin — with new nominees under the following condition: Republicans pledge to confirm any two replacements by President Obama to the board by Aug. 27.
The deal, outlined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) office, also ensures that Reid retains his right to revert to the nuclear option in the future to change filibuster rules by a simple majority vote.
Reid announced on the Senate floor Tuesday morning that there was a tentative deal, less than an hour before procedural votes on the nominees were to begin. He was he was “confident” about its prospects and thanked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for spearheading the compromise effort.
The nominees who would be confirmed under the deal are Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Gina McCarthy for the Environmental Protection Agency, Tom Perez for the Labor Department and Fred Hochberg for the Export-Import Bank. Under the terms of the deal outlined by Reid’s office, Mark Pearce would be confirmed to the NLRB while Block and Griffin would be replaced.
It sounds like a solid win for the Democrats and the president, but — and you knew there had to be a “but” — it doesn’t change the rules of the filibuster; the Republicans can still be as dickish as they want to be about the next appointment that isn’t covered by this particular deal, and you can bet that the ideologues of the Orcosphere are head-hunting for the GOP leadership that went along with this deal. To them, any form of compromise is treason and surrender.
What I think was most interesting is that this seems to have been engineered at the behest of John McCain, who just yesterday was sounding like his idea of “compromise” was for the Republicans to do the nominating for the president. According to the Washingto Post this is the “return of the Maverick McCain.” That may easily be, and not to minimize his role in pulling off the deal, remember that this is the guy who gave the world Sarah Palin. And most of the folks on the far right hate him just as much as they do that Kenyan secret Muslim gay socialist in the White House.