December 19, 2013, 10:18 am
Reid: Senate will work until nominees are cleared
By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday warned the Senate won't be leaving town until several of President Obama’s nominees are confirmed.
“The Senate will not wait until the new year to consider these nominations,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “These are critical nominations and if that means working through the weekend and next week, so be it.”
Reid criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting that the nominations of Janet Yellen to serve as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve was “nonessential.”
“It’s very shallow to suggest this nomination is nonessential,” Reid said.
Senators are debating the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, which is expected to easily pass. But Republicans have so far insisted on running out the procedural clock, forcing the full 30 hours of debate.
Republicans are upset that Reid waited until the last minute to bring up the Defense bill and that he changed filibuster rules last month.
Reid said that if Republicans “cooperated” the Senate could finish all its work today.
“With cooperation the Senate could easily pass this bill today,” Reid said. “But without cooperation from Republicans, senators should expect late nights and weekend votes.”
Reid has said he would agree to adjourn for the holidays if they waived the rule that pending nominations expire at the end of the year.
If Republicans agreed to carry over some nominees, Reid indicated he would be willing to trim the pre-holiday workload.
Reid wants to confirm several nominees before the break, including Yellen, John Koskinen for the IRS, several judges and a top deputy at the Department of Homeland Security.