Mitch McConnell Keeps His Word and Invokes Nuclear Option to Move Obstructed Nominees

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, right, arrive to speak to reporters following a closed-door strategy session that included Vice President Mike Pence, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, right, arrive to speak to reporters following a closed-door strategy session that included Vice President Mike Pence, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’d had enough of Senate Democrats delaying and obstructing district court judges and executive branch nominees. The current rules allow for 30 hours of debate on these positions. In order to slow down the confirmation of judges and prevent President Trump from filling positions he’s allowed to appoint, Democrats have been taking the full time allotted. If there wasn’t a resolution to the problem, McConnell said he’d change the rules to reduce the debate allocation to two hours (see McConnell Loses Patience With Democrat Intransigence And Moves With Major Change To Senate Rules).

Today, that happened.

The casus belli was the nomination of Jeffrey Kessler to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce. This is how McConnell’s press operation frames it:

Meet Jeffrey Kessler

Though He Is Eminently Qualified And Uncontroversial, Democrats Have Delayed Jeffrey Kessler’s Confirmation And Still Forced A Cloture Vote

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Just look at the nomination currently before us. A textbook case study on the shameful state of the current process. Jeffrey Kessler of Virginia was first nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce in November of 2017…. Nobody opposed him on the Finance Committee…. And yet, here on the floor, inexplicably, it has still required a cloture motion to break through the obstruction and get this unobjectionable nominee – that no one voted against – a vote.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 4/03/2019)

More Than 500 Days Of Waiting For Jeffrey Kessler, Nominated To Be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance, Approved Unanimously By The Finance Committee

Here is the blow-by-blow:

And just that fast, we have votes scheduled:

I don’t particularly like the slow motion destruction of the filibuster. Traditions shouldn’t be given the bum’s rush. Having said that, when you have a party hellbent on obstruction, you have two choices. Either cooperate in your own destruction or say “screw these people” and bulldoze them.