WASHINGTON — Sen. Amy Klobuchar told ABC News’ “This Week” that she backs a Democratic plan to end filibusters on executive branch nominees.
The plan, raised last week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, would provide for a simple majority vote on presidential nominations to executive branch positions (Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell discussed the matter on “Meet the Press”). Under current rules, senators can filibuster those nominations and force a cloture vote, which need 60 yes votes to pass. Democrats currently hold 54 seats in the Senate, so they need to pick up some Republican support to confirm nominees.
“If I’m on this show and we ever have a Republican president, I’ll say the same thing: I think a president should have the right to put their team out there,” Klobuchar said Sunday. “They’re going to put up a few nominees that may fail in committee or may have a scandal and then their own party won’t want to vote for them, but for the most part, I don’t understand why these nominees, I’m not talking about judges here, I’m talking about the president’s team … why we can’t just do 51 votes is beyond me.”
Last week, senators spent the better part of Thursday’s floor debate arguing over the proposed rule change. Reid filed the necessary motions to bring up seven executive branch nominees for a vote this Tuesday morning, and promised a bipartisan meeting the night before to discuss potential rule changes. He could decide to bring the new rules to the floor for a vote as early as this week, a move called “the nuclear option” in Washington parlance.
Klobuchar has backed filibuster reform efforts in the past, so her support for this new plan isn’t surprising. She told “This Week,” however, that at this point, she’d only back the 51-vote threshold on executive branch nominations, not judicial nominees or legislation.
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com.