Reporting from Washington — After months of criticism that Republicans are holding up President Obama’s judicial nominees, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid now plans to force back-to-back votes in what could be a political showdown later this week.
Reid (D-Nev.) took a highly unusual step Monday of launching the process for Senate approval of 17 judges as soon as Wednesday. Under the Senate’s complex rules, breaking the Republican-led filibuster could take weeks. The Democratic leader had been threatening to ramp up the nomination approval process to confront what Democrats say is GOP obstruction.
“Republicans have refused to allow us to vote – won’t even allow us to vote – on these qualified judicial nominees,” Reid said from the Senate floor. “What else can we do?”
Republicans swiftly pounced on the effort, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) calling it “nothing more than a political stunt.”
Republican senators have warned they will slow-walk presidential nominees after Obama made an end run around the Senate to appoint Richard Cordray to the head the new consumer protection bureau over Republican objections earlier this year when Congress was not in session.