Silver lining for GOP: Nuclear option could make repealing Obamacare easier
11:30 AM 11/22/2013
Conservatives are outraged over Harry Reid pulling the trigger on the so-called nuclear option in the Senate, making it impossible for Republicans to stop President Obama from nominating anyone he wants to positions in the government.
But some on the right are finding comfort in the theory that Reid’s legislative maneuver could actually make it easier for Republicans to eventually repeal Obamacare — if all the pieces come together in 2017.
On Thursday, Senate Democrats — led by Reid, the Senate majority leader — took the drastic step of changing the body’s rules to prevent Republicans from being able to filibuster most of the president’s nominees.
By employing the nuclear option, Democrats changed the rules so that nomination voted on by the Senate — such as cabinet positions or appeals court judges — only need a majority of votes to pass, instead of the traditional 60 votes.
While Democrats claim the new rule only applies to nominations — and not Supreme Court picks or legislation — conservative commentator George Will is among those who pointed out that there’s no reason to think the majority rule won’t be expanded to other issues in the Senate.
And that’s something that could help Republicans repeal Obamacare if they win the presidency in 2016, win the Senate and keep control of the House.
“There’s no limiting principle in the principle they’re invoking,” Will said on Special Report on Fox News on Thursday night. “That is majorities should rule all the time.”
He continued: “What this means is if in the spring of 2017 there’s a Republican president, which there could be, the Republicans still hold the House, and they have 51 senators, they can repeal Obamacare with 51 votes. And I’m not sure the people who did this today have thought this.”
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell broadly warned Democrats that they might later regret using the nuclear option.
“I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle you’ll regret this,” McConnell said. “And you may regret it a lot sooner than you think.”