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Congress: Reid's high-stakes gambit

Manu Raju calls yesterday’s nuclear option move by Harry Reid a “high-stakes gambit that could have enormous implications for future presidents, reshape an institution he’s served in for 26 years, and ultimately define Reid’s legacy as one of the longest-serving Democratic leaders in history — one with a penchant for bare-knuckled tactics.” Raju reports: “As some of his fellow Democratic senators remained on the fence, Reid called in a heavy hitter to close the deal: President Barack Obama, according to sources familiar with the matter. Obama personally called senators on Wednesday to back the move, and Reid ultimately won the vote on a slim margin, 52-48.”

He adds, “Both sides readily acknowledge that future majorities will cite Reid’s precedent to continue to weaken the filibuster, potentially ending the delaying tactic on all bills and Supreme Court nominees and allowing a simple majority of senators to work their will. In essence, the Senate could become a replica of the majority-rules House.” When asked what if McConnell further erodes the filibuster if he becomes majority leader, Reid said, “Good, let him do it.”

National Journal: “Majority Leader Harry Reid faced a decision: He could preserve the right of the Senate minority—knowing that Democrats might someday be back in that position—or he could strengthen his party's hand right now. As soon as he had the votes, he went with the latter.”

And what gave him the votes? Republicans blocking the DC Circuit Court nominees with no objection to qualifications or charges of either ethics or cronyism.

John McCain’s reaction: "It puts a chill on the entire United States Senate. It puts a chill on everything that requires bipartisanship." McCain claims, per National Journal: “He had been working for two weeks to avert what happened Thursday, including an hour-long meeting in Reid's office Wednesday night. ‘I've reached [out] until my arm aches, OK?’ McCain said. ‘They are governed by these hard-over, newer members of the Democratic caucus who have never been in the minority, who are primarily driving this issue and they succeeded. And they will pay a very, very heavy price for it.’”

Los Angeles Times: "The nomination of Janet L. Yellen to be the next leader of the Federal Reserve cleared the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. The panel voted 14 to 8 in favor of the former UC Berkeley professor and current Fed vice chair, with three Republican members joining 11 Democrats in sending the nomination to the Senate floor. If confirmed, Yellen would be the first woman to lead the 100-year-old central bank."