McConnell said Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRepublican failure Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch MORE (D-Nev.) is rumored to be considering the “nuclear option” — where the majority party can vote to change the rules during a congressional session, weakening minority rights.

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Sens. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoTrump climate move risks unraveling Paris commitments Overnight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation MORE (R-Wyo.), Roy BluntRoy BluntMembers help package meals at Kraft Heinz charity event in DC White House signals it can live without border wall funds Interior secretary hints border wall could be on Mexican land MORE (R-Mo.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Finance: Dems seek probe of acting SEC chief | Defense hawks say they won't back short-term funding | Senate seen as start point for Trump infrastructure plan | Dems want more money for IRS Overnight Regulation: Trump administration lifts Obama freeze on federal coal mining Senators offer bill aimed at helping IRS whistleblowers MORE (R-Iowa) joined McConnell in this call Wednesday morning.

“The nuclear option would irreparably change this institution,” Barrasso said.

At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Reid and McConnell negotiated a minor rule change in order to avoid Reid’s threat of a nuclear option. In return, Republicans were not supposed to oppose presidential nominees unless there were “extraordinary” circumstances.

“It’s very difficult to reach agreements in the United States Senate, but when you reach an agreement, particularly if they’re by the leaders of the Senate, a person’s word is their bond, and that bond ought to be kept,” Grassley said. “When a United States senator reaches an agreement and gives his word, that should mean something around here.”

Democrats have complained that Republicans have blocked and delayed several of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Court and Cabinet secretaries.