Earlier Thursday, Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) debated the potential use of the “nuclear option" — a parliamentary move to change the Senate rules by a simple majority vote — in order to thwart Republican efforts to block some of President Obama’s nominees.
At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Reid and McConnell agreed not to change the rules without a supermajority as long as Republicans didn’t block the administration’s nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances.”
Reid argued that Republicans have broken their agreement by blocking several nominees, while McConnell has accused Reid of trying to “break the rules to change the rules.”
“We really don’t need to go down this road,” Roberts said. “[Reid] believes he needs to destroy the United States Senate in order to save the United States Senate.”
Lawmakers met with other members of their party at caucus lunches Thursday to discuss how to proceed on rule changes. Roberts, the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, said any rule changes should be done through regular order in committee.
Roberts quoted Vice President Biden opposing the "nuclear option" when he was a senator. His phone then began ringing on the floor. Roberts joked that Biden was calling him.
"That’s probably Joe Biden calling, telling me he agrees with me," Roberts said before instructing his staffer to "turn this damn thing off."