Senate Avoids "Nuclear Option"

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 16 2013 4:39 PM

Slatest PM: Senate Remains Nuke-Free

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (C), speaks to the media while flanked by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-CO) (L) and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), after attending the weekly Senate Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A Nuke-Free Day: NBC News: "Senate leaders struck a deal on Tuesday to avoid the 'nuclear option,' as Republicans relented and allowed a series of President Barack Obama’s stalled nominees to move forward toward confirmation. As a sign of a break in the stalemate, Republicans allowed a vote Tuesday morning to advance the nomination of Richard Cordray to permanently lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, passing 71-29. In exchange, Democrats backed off their threat to unilaterally change Senate rules ... to allow for presidential nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority vote, an historic rules change which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had been threatening for days.” 

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And There Was Much Rejoicing (in the Senate anyway): Politico: "'I think it is going to be something that is good for the Senate,’ Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday morning before the Cordray vote. ‘It is a compromise, and I think we get what we want, they get what they want. Not a bad deal.’ It was not immediately clear what conditions or timeline would be placed on the NLRB nominees or other nomination votes. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said those nominations would have to go through the committee process but must be in place by the end of August, when the NLRB will cease to function without Senate action.”

Instant Analysis: Washington Post: “The bottom line is that Obama will get several of his executive branch nominees confirmed, but the Senate rules will remain unchanged — thus allowing Republicans to filibuster in the future, but also enabling Reid to threaten another rules change showdown. Senators suggested that the spirit of the deal and Monday night’s marathon bipartisan caucus had defused, to some extent, the increasingly hostile partisan posture the two sides had adopted over the last few months.”

More Coverage from Slate

Happy Tuesday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and daydreaming about wintertime (we're only half kidding). Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

Military Sexual Assault Bill Gains Support: Washington Post: “Two high-profile conservative Republican senators are joining a push to remove the military chain of command from considering allegations of sexual assault in the ranks. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on Tuesday formally signed on to a plan by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would establish a new system to prosecute sex assault cases in the military. … The proposal is considered the most aggressive solution to the rise of sexual assaults in the military and was rejected last month by the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Zimmerman Protests Continue: Associated Press: “The Rev. Al Sharpton announced Tuesday that he will lead a national ‘Justice for Trayvon’ day in 100 cities this weekend to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. Zimmerman's acquittal over the weekend in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has touched off protests around the country. The Justice Department is investigating whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights when he shot the 17-year-old during a February 2012 confrontation in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman said he fired his gun in self-defense.”

Egypt’s New Cabinet Sworn In, Violence Continues: Reuters: “Egypt's army-backed leaders swore in a new interim cabinet on Tuesday after a night of street violence, with not a single minister representing either of the main Islamist groups that have won five straight elections since 2011. Seven people were killed overnight and more than 260 wounded in running battles between supporters of toppled president Mohamed Mursi and the security forces.”

Snowden Agrees to Asylum Conditions: ABC News: “Fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden today applied for asylum in Russia and, as a condition, agreed to stop harming the U.S., according to a Russian lawyer who is advising him, but that doesn't necessarily mean headline-grabbing stories about the U.S. government's vast foreign and domestic spying programs will stop. The lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told ABC News by phone that he met Snowden inside the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on Tuesday to finalize the asylum application. … A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the president was aware Snowden had submitted an asylum application, but ‘does not have any reaction,’ saying the decision up to Russia's Federal Migration Service.”

Strong Profits at Goldman Sachs: New York Times: “Goldman Sachs posted second-quarter profit on Tuesday that was twice what it reported in the period a year earlier, fueled by strong trading and investment banking results. Net income was $1.93 billion, or $3.70 a share, compared with $962 million, or $1.78 a share, in the period a year earlier. … ‘The firm’s performance was solid, especially in the context of mixed economic sentiment during the quarter,’ Goldman’s chairman and chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, said in a statement.”

Kerry Tries More Peace Talks: Reuters: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a round of discussions in Jordan on Tuesday in his push to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and address the crisis in Syria. Meeting Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry raised the possibility of visiting a refugee camp housing some of the 400,000 refugees who have fled to Jordan to escape Syria's civil war. Kerry, on his sixth visit to the region since he took office on February 1, was due to have dinner with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he tries to nudge the Palestinians and Israelis toward reviving talks that collapsed nearly three years ago.”

Mexican Drug Kingpin Nabbed: CBS News: “One of Mexico's most wanted drug lords, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was caught early Monday by members of the Mexican navy. Trevino Morales -- also known as 'Z-40' -- is the alleged leader of the ruthless Los Zetas drug-trafficking cartel, a gang of former Mexican special forces commandos that emerged in the late 1990's. … In terms of the impact on the war against drugs within the U.S., [CBS News correspondent John] Miller explained, the arrest will have ‘significant’ consequences. ‘Los Zetas, on a weekly basis, sends hundreds of pounds of cocaine and marijuana across the U.S. border with a massive network,’ Miller said, adding, FBI intelligence bulletins talk about Los Zetas trying to recruit among the Mexican mafia gang in the Texas prison and expand its reach into the United States."

A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:

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