What the nuclear option really means

WHILE YOU WERE WORKING: Senate Democrats went nuclear — KABOOM! We might be able to use cellphones on planes; and Sen. Rand Paul called for anti-bullying legislation against Harry Reid. Pro Report starts now.

THE BIG STORY IS THE NUCLEAR OPTION: “The Senate approved a historic rules change on Thursday by eliminating the use of the filibuster on all presidential nominees except those to the U.S. Supreme Court,” write our Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim. “Invoking the long-threatened ‘nuclear option’ means that most of President Barack Obama’s judicial and executive branch nominees no longer need to clear a 60-vote threshold to reach the Senate floor and get an up-or-down vote …”

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the nuclear option Thursday morning, meaning he called for a vote to change the Senate rules by a simple majority vote. It passed, 52-48. Three Democrats voted against changing the rules — Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.” http://politi.co/1aJLSjw

OBAMA speaking from the White House: “I support the step a majority of senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing business, more specifically, the way the Senate does business. What a majority of senators determined, by Senate rule, is that they would restore the long-standing tradition of considering judicial and public service nominations on a more routine basis.” Full transcript, via WaPo: http://wapo.st/1ektwqR

PAUL calls for anti-bullying legislation: “What we really need is an anti-bullying ordinance in the Senate. I mean, now we’ve got a big bully. Harry Reid says he’s just gonna break the rules and make new rules,” Paul said of Reid on CNN. http://politi.co/1iyA6N7

THIS IS PRO REPORT, still not SportsCenter. But it looks like your hometown is taking RGIII’s side and not Shanahan’s. So the only thing RGIII has done is force out a coach. Hey, if you don’t like the rules — change ‘em, right? WaPo with the recap: http://wapo.st/I08n9U Tweet me: @ kevcirilli and email: kcirilli@politico.com Back to the nukes …

EUGENE ROBINSON: “Way to nuke ’em, Harry … It was time to push the button.” Via WaPo: http://wapo.st/17uZ8YJ

CHRIS CHRISTIE IN SCOTTSDALE: “2016 is a long way, way away, and I’m two weeks out of a campaign. … I’m not looking to start speculating about other campaigns already.” James Hohmann with the recap of the Republican Governors Association conference: http://politi.co/IizlJH


WHAT THE NUKE OPTION REALLY MEANS, via Kate Davidson and Zachary Warmbrodt and Jon Prior: “The Senate’s decision on Thursday to end the filibuster of presidential nominees will give President Barack Obama a newfound freedom to fill key financial and regulatory posts — a major change that will allow the president to select candidates with a more aggressive approach to overseeing the financial industry and implementing new policies.

“Republicans have successfully used the filibuster to block some financial picks, but perhaps of more impact has been the clear signal that there is little reason to select nominees with strong views on increased regulation because they will not be confirmed. Whether Obama will choose in his remaining years in office to change his criteria for regulatory picks is unclear, but the rule change will have some immediate consequences.” http://politico.pro/17Rk5u5

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CELLS ON A PLANE? Maybe, reports my co-pad dweller Brooks Boliek: “FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a proposal among other commissioners that could make it easier for airline passengers to access in-flight mobile wireless services.”

"’Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,’ Wheeler said in a statement. ‘I look forward to working closely with my colleagues, the FAA, and the airline industry on this review of new mobile opportunities for consumers.’ Wheeler slated a vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking on the issue for the Dec. 12 open meeting.” http://politico.pro/1fnMSOI

GOOD DAY: JANET YELLEN, via me: “The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen to be head of the Federal Reserve, clearing the way for her confirmation in the coming weeks. The vote was 14-8 with Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma joining 11 panel Democrats in voting in favor of Yellen. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against Yellen’s nomination.” http://politi.co/18TCXsy

BAD DAY: FARM BILL, via David Rogers: “Farm bill talks stumbled Thursday and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said it would be “very challenging” now for him to meet the Republican leadership’s schedule of having a final agreement back on the House floor by Dec. 13.” http://politi.co/1bG11ju

TAX DAY, via Brian Faler: “Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on Thursday proposed radically scaling back the tax breaks businesses take on their investments as part of a plan to overhaul the corporate tax code. The chamber’s Democratic chief tax writer proposed paring back the write-offs companies take for everything from buying office equipment to advertisements to how they calculate their inventories at tax time. It’s unclear how much of a cut in corporate tax rates businesses would get in return, though Baucus has said he wants to cut the current top 35 percent corporate rate to somewhere below 30 percent.” http://politico.pro/1fnF9QE

WHAT THE TRUCK? Transportation reporter Kevin Robillard reports on trucking legislation that has big impact for folks driving on I-95: “A trio of Republican House members grilled FMCSA head Anne Ferro at a hearing Thursday, prompting a series of sharp exchanges over the administration’s new rules limiting the number of hours that truckers can be on the road.”

“After more than a decade of litigation, the hours-of-service rules went into effect on July 1 and were upheld by a federal appeals court in August. But that hasn’t stopped House GOP members, led by Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, from fighting them. Hanna has introduced legislation that would delay the rule until six months after a GAO study of the new regulations is completed.” http://politico.pro/1c73aGw


-- 50th anniversary of JFK assassination.

-- 10 a.m. Banking Committee Housing hearing.

ONE MORE THING: “The threat to change Senate rules is a raw abuse of power and will destroy the very checks and balances our founding fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government,” Harry Reid, in 2005, speaking out against the nuclear option.

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