Obama Backs ‘Nuclear Option,’ Says Majority Should Rule
President Barack Obama strongly backed the use of the “nuclear option” in the Senate to end filibusters of nominations and seemed to push for a broader end to the use of filibusters to stall legislation as well.
“If you have a majority of folks who believe in something, then it should pass,” Obama said, complaining of a litany of legislation that has died at the minority’s hands under his presidency, including bills on immigration, equal pay, jobs, guns and taxes, in addition to nominations.
“We have seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress,” he said.
Ending filibusters of nominations restores the longstanding tradition of considering them on a more routine basis, Obama said.
He complained about Republicans holding up his environmental nominees, his housing nominee and a host of other positions, not because of some personal scandal but because of a policy dispute.
“It’s simply because they opposed the policies the American people voted for in the last election,” Obama said.
He also complained that his judges had been held up more than twice as long as President George W. Bush’s, even though many end up getting overwhelming votes in the end.
“This isn’t obstruction on substance, on qualifications. It’s just to gum up the works,” Obama said.
“The vote today I think is an indication that a majority of senators believe as I believe that enough is enough.”