Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Nuclear Option: Duck and Cover

With the showdown on judicial nominations looming this week, Senators continue to look for a way to avert the Republican nuclear option of changing the rule on filibusters with 50 votes plus Dick Cheney.
The Hill reports that Majority Leader Bill Frist has invited Minority Leader Harry Reid and several other senators for dinner later today. Pete Domenici (R-NM) is cooking duck for the occassion.
Republican senators who are said to have voiced reservations on the proposed rule change include Susan Collins (Maine), Chuck Hagel (Nebraska), John Warner (Virginia), Mike DeWine (Ohiio), Arlen Specter (Penn.), Lisa Murkowski, (Alaska), John Sununu, (New Hampshire) and now Pat Roberts, according to the Kansas City Star:
With a showdown over judicial nominees looming, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas could be one of several pivotal Republicans to oppose stripping the Senate of its traditional power to filibuster.
Roberts expressed doubt about the “nuclear option,” which would end a long-running Democratic threat — to filibuster seven of President Bush's nominees for the federal bench — by changing long-standing Senate rules.
“What goes around comes around,” Roberts said in an interview last week, worried that the rule change could someday come back to haunt his party.
Republican senators who vote against the rule changes would be left feeling politically exposed. A compromise would have to provide political cover for senators on both sides.
John McCain (R-AZ) is reported to be holding discussions with Democrat Ben Nelson on a possible compromise that would avert a showdown.


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