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On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 12-10. Republicans unanimously voted against him, not because they have a problem with him, but because they want to force changes to the CFPB that they will not attempt through the normal legislative process.

Also on Tuesday, various Senate Republicans announced that they would block two more of President Obama's nominees: Secretary of Labor pick, Thomas Perez, and Environmental Protection Agency nominee, Gina McCarthy. They kept Susan Rice from even being nominated with their threats, then proceeded to gum up the nominations of Chuck Hagel, John Brennan, and Jack Lew and blocked Caitlin Halligan. Why? Essentially because they can. As Greg Sargent says:

One of the consequences of this maximum obstruction plan by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans is that is renders even perfectly reasonable actions by Republican Senators highly suspicious. Blunt’s hold on McCarthy is over a local issue in Missouri, something about levees on the Mississippi. But it’s impossible to know whether that’s something that Blunt is perfectly willing to negotiate with the relevant agencies, or if it’s just a cover for GOP opposition to yet another Obama nomination for the sake of opposition itself.
You don't have to think too hard to work that one out, given the GOP's track record on filibustering executive nominations under this president. The Cordray example might be the most egregious single case—they lost the legislative battle and are taking a scorched earth approach rather than accepting defeat—but taken as a whole, these filibusters reflect a broken institution. What's more, it's an institution that's been deliberately broken by the minority.

There really is only one answer: Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats have to make it clear that they're willing to change Senate rules now, mid-session.

Please sign our petition to Harry Reid urging him to reopen rules reform.

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