By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on several more of President Obama’s executive and judicial nominees Monday evening.
Earlier Monday, Reid threatened to keep the Senate in session through Christmas Eve to confirm the nominees.
Reid filed cloture on the nominations of Alejandro Mayorkas to be deputy secretary of Homeland Security, John Koskinen to serve as director of the Internal Revenue Service, Brian Davis to be U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida, Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve, Sloan Gibson to be deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, Sarah Sewall to be an under secretary of State, Michael Connor to be deputy secretary of the Interior, Sarah Bloom Raskin to be deputy secretary of the Treasury, Jessica Garfola Wright to be under secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, and Richard Engler to be a member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.
The Senate is expected to consider a bipartisan budget deal Tuesday and the Defense authorization bill on Wednesday, meaning votes on the nominations wouldn’t start until later in the week unless Republicans agree to yield back debate time.
Tensions over nominations are high in the wake of the move by Reid and Senate Democrats to change the upper chamber's rules to prevent the minority from filibustering administrative and judicial nominees.
Last week, Senate Republicans insisted the Senate stay in session constantly, as a protest against the rule change. They kept the Senate in session for more than two days straight to debate some nominations.
“Last week was difficult for the entire Senate community,” Reid said. “When cooperation is lacking, as it was last week, completing the business before this body becomes much more difficult.”
Reid said that if Republicans “cooperate” the Senate could still complete all of its work by Thursday, but he was willing to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Eve if necessary.