Reid again threatens Friday work

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that the Senate needed to complete work on two of President Obama’s nominees before leaving for a two-week Easter recess. 

“There are two votes we need to have before we leave here this week,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “We have to finish these two matters before we leave for the week.”

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Reid frequently threatens Friday and weekend work, but the Senate almost always ends up finishing by Thursday afternoon so members can head back to their states. He said it was up to Republicans to decide if work is finished today or if they’ll insist on using all of the debate time on the nominations, causing votes to bleed into Friday evening.

“I suggest Republicans deal with their own,” Reid said. “We could finish this afternoon if we wanted to.”

At 10:30 a.m., the Senate will vote to end debate on the nomination of Michelle Friedland to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. Under the rules, if the Senate invokes cloture on Friedland’s nomination, there will be up to 30 hours of debate. 

Reid said he hopes to reach agreement with Republicans to expedite that process so the Senate can move on to final confirmation and then the nomination of David Weil to be administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division before leaving for a two-week Easter recess. Weil’s nomination requires up to eight hours of debate after cloture is invoked. Democrats can yield back their half of those mandatory debate times, meaning work could be completed by Friday evening if Republican refuse to budge.

Reid hit on another increasingly common refrain — the Koch brothers.

It has become nearly a daily occurrence for Reid to insult billionaires David and Charles Koch. He has accused them of trying to buy U.S. elections by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Republican political action committees.

On Thursday, Reid quoted another famous billionaire, J. Paul Getty, to make his point.

“Getty said, ‘money is like manure, you have to spread it around or it smells’ ” Reid said. “Well, Charles and David Koch have spread their money around but it still stinks.”