With the "nuclear option" in place, President Barack Obama needs only 51 votes to see his executive and judicial nominations brought to a vote. Liberals are seizing the opportunity, pushing Obama to nominate people with a left-of-center ideology, The Hill reports
Senate Democrats invoked the "nuclear option" on Nov. 21, changing the rule that 60 votes were needed to bring judicial or executive nominees to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote. With only 55 members on their side, Democrats had been unable to prevent Republican filibusters.
"Before, we weren’t trying to push people with a labor backgrounds because we knew they would never have been confirmable," a senior labor official told The Hill. "That bar has been removed. You’ll see considerable interest in seeing more progressive people appointed to positions."
The official said "a couple" of potential nominees are currently being pushed, but would not tell The Hill who they were. "There are some assistant secretary positions," the official said.
The union and other liberal groups are trying to keep their list of hopefuls secret to avoid having Republicans mount a successful pushback, The Hill reported. They need sway only five Democrats to thwart a nomination.
Two members of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and one on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors are up for appointment. Liberals hope to see them given to people who are not overly friendly to Wall Street.
They also are hopeful of having judicial posts filled with liberals. Three vacancies on the influential D.C. Circuit were being held up by a Republican filibuster, which spurred Democrats to use the "nuclear option." The three seats would give the current court, split evenly with four conservatives and four liberals, a decidedly leftward tilt.
The nuclear option does not apply to Supreme Court nominations.
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