On Alexander, Corker Splitting Votes and Cutting a Deal in the U.S. Senate

Tennessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker split their votes on confirming President Obama’s nominee to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which came after a deal averted a threats Democratic threats to invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” reports Nooga.com. Alexander voted against confirmation of Richard Cordray; Corker for.
The move came after threats by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to espouse “the nuclear option,” a procedural tactic that would have allowed the number of votes needed to confirm presidential appointees to be 51 instead of the traditional 60-vote threshold.
Reid cited repeated filibusters by Republican senators as his reason for considering the tactic, drawing criticism from Alexander and others. Elements of Tuesday’s compromise were hashed out Monday night in a closed-door meeting of senators in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber.
As part of their deal, two new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board will be chosen as replacements for appointees picked by Obama during a recess in 2011. Votes will also be scheduled for Department of Labor and Environmental Protection Agency nominees.

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has a report quoting “two senior Senate aids” (anonymous) as declaring Alexander was making threats himself behind the scenes during the deal-cutting talks.
Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, threatened Reid with an even bigger nuke than Reid famously threatened: a promise to retaliate by opposing every so-called ‘unanimous consent’ resolution that comes to the Senate floor.
‘Senator Alexander told Senator Reid that if he did what he thought he was going to do, the wrath of God was coming, and he was going to deliver it personally.’
Both aides confirmed that the Republicans’ leader in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, approved of the plan. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Alexander’s office did not respond to a request for an official comment.
….Sen. Alexander had already offered a series of different threats on the Senate floor on June 18, telling Democrats that if they changed the debate rules, he would prepare 10 pieces of legislation and pass them quickly the next time Republicans were in the majority.
New York Times political prognosticator Nate Silver, who correctly predicted the outcome of every state’s electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election, said Monday that Republicans were poised to hold either 50 or 51 Senate seats after the 2014 midterm election.
Alexander’s June 18 threats included the repeal of Obamacare, a voucher program for public education, drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, completing the Keystone XL pipeline, a national ‘right to work’ law and finishing the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.
That project is in Reid’s home state of Nevada, and he’s blocked it since 2010.
‘I think Lamar Alexander is a serous player,’ the second staffer said. ‘He’s got game, and Harry Reid blinked.’

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