Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of opening “Pandora’s box” last week when he used the nuclear option to change Senate filibuster rules.
Last Thursday, 52 Democrats voted to change the rules by limiting the minority party’s right to filibuster presidential nominees. In the past, Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome GOP filibuster of a nominee, but with the rule change a simple majority can end debate on a nominee.
Reid decided to use the “nuclear option” — which gets its name because of the damage it does to bipartisan relationships — after Republicans blocked three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. District Court.
Sessions, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Reid’s actions have turned George Washington’s “cooling saucer” into another House of Representatives, where the minority party has little power.
“We are witnessing a fundamental and potentially lasting alteration of the Senate,” Sessions wrote. “Reid, in effect, is turning the Senate into Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives.”
Sessions said Republican obstruction stems from the fact that Reid won’t allow an open amendment process, saying Reid’s “dictatorial actions” are to blame.