Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Dec. 10, 2013.
Susan Walsh/AP

Payback? Senate GOP lashes out against Dems’ decision to go nuclear


Filibuster reform? What filibuster reform?

Senate Republicans ran the clock until nearly 1 a.m. Thursday morning to confirm one of President Obama’s picks to serve on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court.

Nina Pillard was finally confirmed by a 51-44 vote, hours after debate began on Wednesday afternoon.

The overnight talkathon comes on the heels of Senate Democrats decision last month to “go nuclear” – voting to get rid of a 60-vote requirement to get the president’s nominees confirmed. The move struck down nearly 225 years of precedent.

While the rules change was employed to break the GOP choke hold on presidential picks, Republicans are still able to slow down the consideration of the nominees. In Pillard’s case, the GOP forced the Dems to use all allotted 30 hours of debate on her nomination by not agreeing to yield back any time.

The tactic threatens Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desire to finish 2013’s legislative business. There are at least nine more nominee votes scheduled over the next few days.

Reid said he would push forward with the nominations, even if it disrupts the upcoming holiday.

“If we have to work the weekend before Christmas, we’re going to do that,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor. “If we have to work Monday before Christmas, we’re going to do that.”

Republicans, still fuming over the rules change, suggested they would not relent either.

“Assuming we take the Senate in 2014, I think it will end in January 2015,” said Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell railed against the Dems’ decision to go nuclear, acknowledging before the vote that Pillard will be confirmed but only because of the left’s “power grab.”

Reid said on the Senate floor that he’s not surprised Americans’ faith in Congress is slipping following the GOP’s delay tactics.

“The Republican caucus is stalling for no other reason other than to stall for time,” Reid said late Wednesday. “No wonder the American people look  at the Senate as a dysfunctional body.”

NOW With Alex Wagner, 12/12/13, 1:09 PM ET

The right’s latest fake filibuster

Senate Republicans staged an around-the-clock talkathon to protest Harry Reid’s decision to “go nuclear” and change rules for voting on presidential nominees.

Payback? Senate GOP lashes out against Dems' decision to go nuclear