McConnell said Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems see surge of new candidates Dems to grind Senate to a halt over ObamaCare repeal fight GOP fires opening attack on Dem reportedly running for Heller's Senate seat 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 BarrassoA frantic scramble before possible healthcare vote next week Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP leader expects health vote next week | Senate Republicans consider deeper Medicaid cuts | Dems vow to block Senate work Senate GOP leader: Health vote expected next week MORE (R-Wyo.), Roy BluntRoy BluntGOP senator: 'No reason' to try to work with Dems on healthcare GOP senator slams proposed NIH cuts: ‘No one should have to defend’ them Senate panel readies must-pass aviation bill MORE (R-Mo.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley doesn't see how Judiciary 'can avoid' obstruction probe Trump attacks wind power in state that gets nearly third of energy from wind Judiciary Committee to continue Russia probe after Mueller meeting 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.