« PA-04: Heinz Not Challenging Melissa Hart | Main | 08-Dem: Governor Brian Schweitzer for Campaign Manager »

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

2006 Senate: No Negotiations Under Nuclear Cloud

Posted by Bob Brigham

With Republicans on the verge of forcing a historic re-alignment with the right-wing power grab's Nuclear Option, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is urging Republicans to abandon their quest to break the Senate rules.

To help understand the dynamics at play, I highly recommend the following letter from Senator Harry Reid to Republican Whip Mitch McConnell:

April 19, 2005
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mitch:
Thank you for your letter yesterday regarding judicial nominations.  I assume that your reply to my March 15 letter is not a substitute for Senator Frist’s promise over a month ago to offer a compromise for resolving this issue.  Democrats anxiously await that proposal.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that there is much important work to be done in the Senate.  That is why it is so baffling that Republicans would precipitate this destructive confrontation over the Senate’s decision to reject a small number of judicial nominees.  As you well know, the Senate has confirmed 205 of President Bush’s judicial candidates and turned back only ten, a 95% confirmation rate.  Ten rejected judges – only seven of whom are currently before the Senate – does not seem reason enough for Republicans to break the Senate rules, violate over 200 years of Senate tradition and thereby impair the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues of real concern to the American people.
For example, you are absolutely right that “our transportation infrastructure needs improving.”  That is why I issued a public call last week for the Senate to take up the highway bill.  Once we finish the supplemental appropriations bill, the Majority Leader has a clear choice: if he moves to proceed to the highway bill he can allow us to do the work that the American people sent us here to do.  If, on the other hand, he chooses to launch what Senator Lott dubbed “the nuclear option,” it will be clear that the Republican agenda is not based on the needs of the American people but rather on the demands of radical ideological elements in the Republican Party base.
I am committed to resolving the dispute over judicial nominations amicably.  The first step in that process should be for the Majority Leader to abandon his proposal to break the Senate rules.  We should not negotiate under a nuclear cloud.
Democratic Leader

Posted at 01:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati