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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media after a caucus meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington August 1, 2011.
Following the Senate Democratic caucus lunch, at which senators discussed Majority Leader Harry Reid's intent to file cloture on a number of President Obama's executive nominees, the leadership held a press conference. Reid reiterated his willingness to go forward with the challenge to Republicans to either approve all of these nominees or he'll enact the constitutional option, changing the Senate rules on filibuster with a simple majority vote. He reiterated that Senate rules had been changed 18 times in the last 36 years, defusing the idea that this move would mean the end of the Senate, as Republicans have hyperbolically been suggesting.

He put the onus directly on Republicans: if they approve the seven nominees he's putting forward, he'll back off. Those nominees include Gina McCarthy at EPA, Thomas Perez at Labor, which McConnell has suggested he'd allow. But they also include the nominees McConnell has called "unlawful"; Richard Cordray at the CFBP and the members of the National Labor Relations Board. By announcing that he'll file for cloture on all of these nominees, Reid's given the Republicans a deadline of next Tuesday to decide what they're going to do.

As he said in the press conference, "if they're not willing to be reasonable, we know where we're headed."

Reid seems ready. Coming out of the caucus lunch, Sen. Tom Udall said that they'd be ready to have Vice President Joe Biden available to provide the 51st vote. But it would be better to do it with the caucus of senators. Reports are that Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jack Reed (D-RI) are on the fence.

If you live in Montana or Rhode Island, contact your senator and tell him to vote with the caucus to make the Senate work again. And if you have a Democratic senator, send an email urging them to hang tough and to vote for real filibuster reform.

1:06 PM PT: Reid is on the floor now, making nominations:
Richard Cordray, CFPB
Richard F. Gifford, Jr. NLRB

1:14 PM PT: Remaining nominees:

Sharon Block, NLRB
Mark Gaston Pierce, NLRB
Fred P. Hochberg, Export-Import Bank
Thomas Perez, Labor
Gina McCarthy, EPA

Fittingly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was presiding for this. Fitting because the GOP's blocking her from the CFPB led to her being in the Senate, and their blocking of Cordray has led to Reid taking on this fight.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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