GOP Senators may go “nuclear” after a change in rules for hundreds of nominations, sparking
After fuming for years over the pace of confirmations, Republicans say the years-long fight will soon come to a head, and the end result will dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to confirm most nominees.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made his pitch Tuesday for changing the rules after a closed-door caucus lunch, saying the executive calendar that tracks nominations is in “chaos.”
“If we don’t stop this behavior now, it will become the norm,” he told reporters.
Nominations currently face up to an additional 30 hours of debate after they’ve overcome an initial hurdle showing they have the support to get confirmed. Under the GOP resolution, spearheaded by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), that would be reduced to two hours for most executive nominees and lower-level district judge nominations.
Supreme Court justices, appeals court judges, Cabinet picks and roughly a dozen boards and commissions would be exempt from the proposed rules change.
“Over the past two years, some in this body have decided that they will oppose any nominee suggested by President Trump,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
GOP Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) was the only Republican to vote against the change, saying the Senate needs “to serve its deliberative function in our constitutional system.”
“I oppose changing the post-cloture time rule. I certainly oppose breaking the rules of the Senate to do so. The current rules can work for the American people; they simply require us to do the same,” he added in a statement.