For the Umpteenth Time, Senate Caves on Filibuster Reform With Good Deal for Majority Party

NLRB appointees Sharon Block and Richard Griffin will be sacrificed to save the filibuster, but Richard Cordray, pictured, is set to be solemnly sworn in as head of the CFPB.

Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

“Who could have seen it coming?” the reporter asked, sarcastically. After Republicans realized that Democrats had the votes to end filibusters on executive branch nominees, and after a three-and-a-half-hour airing-of-greivances meeting last night, Democrats finally handed them a deal. In a sentence: total victory for Democrats with some face-saving for Republicans.

The deal is basically this.

- Richard Cordray, the long-filibustered, recess-appointed director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, will get a vote at 11 a.m. He won’t be filibustered.


- The president will be allowed votes on nominees to the National Labor Relations Board—three Democrats, two Republicans. But he’ll have to give up on Richard Griffin and Sharon Block, the Democrats appointed during a 2012 recess,* and nominate two new people. “We’ve been calling on the White House for six months to send two new, legal, NLRB nominees,” said a Republican aide, simultaneously talking down the scope of the deal and reiterating the party’s objections.

The junking of Griffin and Block is the only real concession to Republicans; the tacit assumption here is that Obama’s new warm bodies will get votes. By giving Democrats nearly everything they asked for, Republicans avoided a change to the filibuster.

*Without getting into the weeds again, Republicans and the D.C. Circuit agree that the House’s decision not to adjourn meant it wasn’t a recess.