Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The executive nominee deal to avert a Senate rules change is good only in that the controversial "nuclear option" was avoided (and even that is debatable). Most interesting is how the deal was reached.

Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) thoroughly withdrew from negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV). McConnell is solely focused on his re-election to the extent that the Senate itself is only, at this moment through 2014 a tool to get re-elected. Taking a pragmatic point of view, who can blame him? Except, McConnell was ready to sacrifice the comity of the Senate for his own political objective and seemingly operated in bad faith.

Credit for averting the nuclear option and reaching a deal on executive nominees rests solely with Sen. Reid and Sen. McCain (R-AZ). But for McCain stepping in and picking up the ball, the rules negotiation would have gone south fast - resulting in the US Senate grinding to a paralyzing halt until after the 2014 elections.

The resulting deal is ridiculous; but better than alternatives. National Labor Relations Board nominees Sharon Block and Richard Griffin are to be withdrawn and replaced with two new nominees that will be brought immediately to the floor without hearings or mark-up. Further, the deal stipulates that "any one at all," may be nominated. This agreement swings the NLRB doors wide open for nominees who are vociferous advocates for labor and workers rights and interests - as it should be as these are a Democratic administration's nominees. Unfortunately, two highly regarded and credible nominees in Block and Griffin get thrown under the bus.

Sen. McCain, by being the deal cutter, just undermined Leader McConnell. Assuredly McConnell is seething over McCain's rogue negotiation but has nobody but himself to blame.

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