Green Groups Pressured Reid for 'Nuclear Option'

Image: Green Groups Pressured Reid for 'Nuclear Option'

Saturday, 23 Nov 2013 04:56 PM

By Todd Beamon

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Environmental groups heavily lobbied Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to invoke the "nuclear option" to limit Republican use of the filibuster over nominees to most federal judgeships and agencies by President Barack Obama.

"It may free Obama up to be more ambitious about putting forward folks that share [the administration's] philosophy and be less fearful because of the 60-vote threshold," Melinda Pierce, a policy expert for the Sierra Club, told The Hill.

The Sierra Club joined a group of unions and liberal organizations that pressured Reid to force the "nuclear option" vote on Thursday.

The Democratic-controlled Senate approved a measure 52-48 ending the requirement that at least 60 votes be needed to advance executive branch and lower-court nominations. Three Democrats voted against: Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Carl Levin of Michigan, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The change would not apply to Supreme Court nominees or legislation.

Republicans — stripped of their main weapon in stalling Obama's nominees, the filibuster — attacked the move as a blatant "power grab" that could backfire should the GOP retake the White House and Senate in upcoming elections.

"In short, unlike the first two years of the Obama administration, there’s now a legislative check on the president," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told the Hill. "And the administration doesn’t much like checks and balances."

More importantly, environmental groups see the change as a boon to Obama's effort to place three appointees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Hill reports.

The influential court currently has eight members, evenly split among Republican and Democratic appointees. The judges hear many appeals regarding federal regulation, particularly those that are expected to challenge Obama's upcoming efforts to limit climate change.

In the face of a crumbling second-term agenda, the president is seeking to cement his legacy through executive action on the issue through the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency is writing new standards to reduce carbon emissions at the nation's existing power plants, the primary source of industrial carbon emissions.

"[By] filling up all 11 seats, a full panel is an improvement to the current situation in the court," the Sierra Club's Pierce told the Hill. "And we hope these additions will ensure that the climate regulations are upheld."

Obama's three nominations to the circuit — Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins, and Nina Pillard — were filibustered by Republicans, leading Reid to bring the vote on the rules change.

In addition, Obama is expected to nominate Janet McCabe to oversee the EPA’s air and radiation regulations office, which plays a critical role in rewriting the carbon emissions standards, the Hill reports. She currently is serving in an acting capacity.

"The change to the filibuster rules brought forward by Sen. Reid will likely mean that whoever is nominated — and we expect that will be Janet — will have an easier and certainly shorter path to confirmation," Pierce told the Hill.

Related Stories:


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Hillary's Speeches Carry Hefty Price Tag, Specific Demands

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 17:32 PM

While she doesn't come with a rock star's extensive backstage rider, new documents about requirements for hosting a Hill . . .

Russian Muslim Leader Swears Obedience Oath to ISIS

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 17:02 PM

A Russian Muslim leader from the North Caucasus region of Dagestan swore allegiance to Islamic State, according to a You . . .

Blasts, Gunfire in Kabul After Suicide Bomber Hits UK Embassy Car

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 07:49 AM

Gunfire and explosions rocked Kabul Thursday as Taliban militants attacked a central district that houses several embass . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved