Filibuster Reform in July?

| Fri May 17, 2013 1:23 PM EDT

Greg Sargent reports that once immigration reform is safely finished (or killed, as the case may be), Harry Reid plans to revisit the topic of filibuster reform:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is increasingly focused on the month of July as the time to exercise the so-called “nuclear option” and revisit filibuster reform....Reid has privately consulted with President Obama on the need to revisit filibuster reform, and the President has told the Majority Leader that he will support the exercising of the nuclear option if Reid opts for it, the aide says.

....Reid is eyeing a change to the rules that would do away with the 60-vote threshold on all judicial and executive branch nominations, the aide says, on the theory that this is a good way to immediately break an important logjam in Washington — without changing the rules when it comes to legislation.

....Reid views three upcoming nominees as a key test for whether he will exercise the nuclear option: Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Thomas Perez as secretary of labor; and Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency. If Republicans block those three nominees, the aide tells me, “then our position will be very easy.”

So is Reid really planning to do this? Or is this merely a shot across the bow, warning Republican not to block Cordray, Perez, and McCarthy? Hard to say. But I think it's unlikely that Republicans will allow Cordray's nomination to go forward, since they're blocking him mainly as a way of blocking the operation of the CFPB itself. More than likely, then, they'll call Reid's bluff. Then we'll find out just how serious he is.

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