Schumer regrets Dems triggering 'nuclear option'

Schumer regrets Dems triggering 'nuclear option'
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Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer Sanders blasts Trump for picking 'completely unqualified' Pence for coronavirus response Trump passes Pence a dangerous buck Democratic mega-donor reaching out to Pelosi, Schumer in bid to stop Sanders: report MORE (D-N.Y.) says he regrets the decision by Democrats in 2013 to trigger the "nuclear option" for most presidential nominations. 

The change to the Senate rules lowered the threshold for confirming Cabinet nominees to a simple majority vote — something that will now help President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE push through his nominees. 

"I argued against it at the time. I said both for Supreme Court and in Cabinet should be 60 because on such important positions there should be some degree of bipartisanship," Schumer told CNN.

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"I won on Supreme Court, lost on Cabinet. But it's what we have to live with now."

The "nuclear option" was triggered by former Senate Democratic leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina Democratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Harry Reid calls for end to all caucuses MORE (D-Nev.), who retired at the end of the last Congress. Schumer is taking his place as leader of Senate Democrats in the new Congress. 

In 2013, Democrats in the Senate altered the filibuster rules, lowering the number of senators needed to confirm presidential nominees from 60 to a simple majority of 51. Supreme Court nominations were excluded from the change.

The rule change was approved on a majority line vote, a tactic that had long been dubbed the nuclear option because of its potential to blow up bipartisan relations in the Senate. 

Republicans to this day remain angry at Reid for the maneuver, but have praised Schumer, saying he sought to reach a compromise.

A Republican source last month told The Hill that Schumer worked for six months to prevent the nuclear options from being used.  

With Republicans holding a 52-48 majority in the new Senate, they can push through Trump's nominees without Democratic support.

Still, Schumer confirmed in a statement Sunday that Democrats plan to fight many of Trump’s Cabinet choices, though they will need Republican defections to stop them.

Alexander Bolton contributed.