Human Events Blog

Harry Reid Goes Nuclear to Block Obama Jobs Bill


President Obama spends a great deal of time shrieking that Congress should “PASS THIS BILL!” immediately.  He’s referring to his new “stimulus” bill, a $1.5 trillion package of tax increases combined with $450 billion of spending and a $200 billion “infrastructure bank” slush fund.  The President spends a great deal of taxpayer money flying to campaign appearances where he can push for immediate passage of this bill, without any debate or alterations.

This “bill” was never meant as a serious piece of legislation, and Obama’s entire Democrat Party knows it.  It’s a campaign document, designed to give him class warfare talking points during his re-election bid, and provide something he can use as a club against supposedly “obstructionist” Republicans.  Although the bill has exactly zero Democrat sponsors in the House, Obama pretends that evil Republicans are somehow the only obstacle to its passage.  He sometimes even calls them out by name, especially House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. 

Part of this charade involves pretending the GOP has no alternative proposals, which is so obviously untrue that even liberal reporters look nervous when the President says it during press conferences.  A good number of Americans may disagree with various aspects of Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” proposal, but very few of them are willing to forget that it exists. 

A Republican, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, even grabbed the name of President Obama’s bill, the American Jobs Act of 2011.  He applied this name to a vastly superior proposal, which in two pages calls for nothing but the elimination of corporate taxes and the Alternative Minimum Tax.  This would cost the Treasury far less than Obama’s bill, increase no one’s taxes, and generate a massive boost in job creation… but to avoid calling Barack Obama a bald-faced liar, you have to do more than challenge Gohmert’s proposal.  You have to pretend he never made it.

The Obama bill has no Democrat sponsors because every single Democrat seat subject to next year’s elections is “in play.”  They’re all threatened, in what could be one of the most astonishing electoral landslides in history.  They’re absolutely terrified of associating themselves with massive tax increases and a pork-barrel spending bill, when their Party has brought America to the edge of economic collapse.

For the proof of this, we can look to the Senate, where the bill does have one Democrat sponsor: Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to call Reid’s bluff by attaching the Obama “jobs bill” to a China trade bill.  This is a technique often used by the minority party to force the majority to address legislation it would rather ignore.  Both Republican and Democrat minorities have used it many times over the years.  The Senate parliamentarian ruled McConnell’s legislative maneuver to be perfectly acceptable.

Reid is desperate to avoid an actual vote on the Obama bill he allegedly supports, so he tried several techniques to thwart McConnell’s effort to “PASS THIS BILL!”  First, he tried to fill all the amendment “slots” of the China trade bill with meaningless drivel, so McConnell couldn’t get the Pass This Bill Act on the table.

That didn’t work, so Reid changed the rules of the Senate.

You read that right.  Harry Reid just changed the rules of the Senate to block a vote on President Barack Obama’s jobs bill.

The Hill explains what happened, in a move they refer to as “Reid’s coup”:

In a shocking development Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) triggered a rarely used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules.

Reid and 50 members of his caucus voted to change Senate rules unilaterally to prevent Republicans from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments after the chamber has voted to move to final passage of a bill.

This heavy-handed tactic of changing the Senate rules is widely described as the “nuclear option.”  The Democrat Party used to be very strongly opposed to the “nuclear option,” back when they were in the minority, and using filibuster tactics to block President Bush’s appellate court nominees.  A celebrated bipartisan “Gang of 14” was eventually created to defuse the nuclear threat.

One of the Democrats most stridently opposed to the “nuclear option” was, of course, Harry Reid. sets the Wayback Machine to 2008, which is not exactly ancient history:

When Harry Reid was hawking his book “The Good Fight” on C-Span’s “Book Notes” in 2008, he described how he had vehemently opposed GOP plans for the “nuclear option,” changing the rules to break a Democratic filibuster on President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Only 51 votes would be needed to move them along.

“What the Republicans came up with was a way to change our country forever,” Reid stated. “We would in fact have a unicameral legislature where a simple majority would determine everything that happens … the Senate was set up to be different. That was the genius, the vision, of our Founding Fathers.”

Harry Reid, three years later: “Screw the genius of the Founding Fathers!  We’ve got to stop a vote on Obama’s jobs bill before it ruins the Democrat Party!”

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) appeared on Mark Levin’s radio show to discuss this astonishing development:

Meanwhile, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) described Reid’s move in one word, via Twitter: “Tyranny.”

Consider the timing of what just happened.  Just hours before Reid blocked his jobs bill, President Obama gave a very long press conference in which he made a point of whining about “Republican obstructionism.”  Harry Reid just made an utter fool of President Obama.

And if that’s not astounding enough, think of the long-term ramifications.  Reid will almost certainly reverse his “coup” under intense political and popular pressure – the Senate is currently “cooling off” and is supposed to return Tuesday, so he was really just playing for time.  However, it will become very difficult for Democrats to complain about the “nuclear option” when they lose the Senate next year, which is highly likely.  Do you suppose the Democrats might want to have a say in Republican legislation come 2013… perhaps something to do with health care, let’s say?

If President Obama wants to keep moaning about “obstructionism” without sounding like a lunatic, he should strongly consider switching parties.


Sign Up

    I would like to  know which of the “job creators” have made jobs in the US when President Bush was in office?

  • Guest

    Mr. Hayward, hardly any media outlet is making a major issue of this tyrannical trampling of our Constitution.  I wonder why?  Your column did not even appear on a front page in Human Events.   I stumbled on it by accident.  I wonder if this downplaying of the unconscionable event is by design.

    In any case.  We should be trumpeting this on the house tops instead of ignoring it.  Come 2013, Republicans had better learn their lessons and never trust the Democrats again.  Not to give an inch and certainly employ the same tactic when they takeover the Senate.

  • Patrick Dacre

    uhmm..what he blocked was an attempt by McC to usurp the floor debate on another bill, in post cloture. Seems the GOP is attempting to tear down the government no matter what.

  • flmom0f4

    No, McConnell was daring the Democrats to put their money where their mouth is and Reid put paid to that.  I’d love to have a dollar for each time Obama has thundered ‘pass this bill’, well the Republicans tried to force the Democrats to do just that and Reid, by his actions, has shown us all that he had no intention of bringing that bill to the floor.  

  • RUexperienced

    Can’t the House bring the bill up for a vote?   We can at least put the Pelosi democrats on record.

  • Adam Moreira

    This is being blown way out of proportion; here’s why.

    What was blocked was the post-cloture filibuster…that is, filibusters after a bill h as already achieved the votes for cloture. Reid did this to, as Doc said, prevent McConnell from adding
    the jobs bill to a completely unrelated act.

    In principle, I don’t have a problem with it; cloture should mean just that—readied for final passage up or down. The proposal talked about in “The Good Fight” is quite different…and in the Washington Examiner, after someone pointed it out, the author was forced to issue a clarification.

    Dems still oppose a nuclear option that would eliminate cloture altogether; as such, this is a gross misrepresentation. And as such, DeMint and Cornyn are wrong, and lied. Now, if either party sought to eliminate cloture altogether (the PRE-cloture filibuster), that would be the final step to tyranny. Reid has not attempted what Bill Frist did.

  • StanW

    Adam, you are desparately trying to obscure two important facts.

    FACT#1: Obama said “Pass This Bill, at least bring it up for a vote”, so the Republicans did. And it was the DEMOCRATS that stopped it from being voted on.

    FACT#2: In order to stop a vote being taken on this bill, Harry Reid used a procedure that he opposed.

    So despite of your slight-of-hand BS, this incident has shown Obama to be a pathetic fool and Harry Reid of be an abject hypocrite.

  • Guest

    ….don’t mention the fact that the Democrats did this and more, when they were in the minority.

  • Keith1941

    During Obama’s first two years, he, or his Democrat friends in Congress, never worried about compromise.  obama’s own words:  “We won”.

    I saw Trent Lott “share” power with the Dems when he didn’t have to. (I disagreed)

    I saw potential Supreme Court appointees like Bork, villified by the Dems the Senate—even when they didn’t control the Senate. I’ve also seen the Republicans approve idiots to the Supreme Court, or say nothing because a Dem was in the White House. 

    The Republicans should  have, at least, opposed some of these people.   We don’t need a lecture about how the Republicans aren’t being “nice” to the Dems. 

  • Adam Moreira

    Or, it means that Reid has officially thrown Obama under the bus. No Democrat wanted to waste time on a bill that had no chance of passing. It’s happened already.

    Reid only opposed the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster altogether, if his book is to be believed. As such, I directly dispute your claim of hypocrisy. The Washington Examiner has said explicitly that this is NOT the nuclear option – although it would utilize the same procedure. As such, either you are correct or the Washington Examiner is correct—but you can’t both be correct.

    Reid never opposed the procedure; he only opposed what the end result would have been under Frist. The Washington Examiner was forced to admit that and correct its article (the correction is in the link, in the final paragraph) after a reader there pointed out significant differences.

  • StanW

    Disput away, Adam.

    Ried opposed the nuclear option when he was in the minority party. As the head of the Majority, he has no problem using that provision to stop the minority.

    I’ll even offer a prediction for you, which you are free to remember. When Harry Reid is once again in the minority party, he will reassert his opposition to the Nuclear Option AND will scream to high heaven if it i ever used against him.

  • Keith1941

    They should, but obama doesn’t want this bill passed.  He’s knows it won’t work, but it will be a campaign issue.  At that so-called press conference, did anyone dare ask him where the first $800,000,000 went?  I thought that was for roads & bridges.  We all know that was a slush fund..some of it coming back to him for his reelection.

    Oh well…..Chicago!

  • Adam Moreira

    This is not the nuclear option. The minority is still free to filibuster bills and deny cloture on a bill.

    As such, those claiming that the nuclear option was invoked last night—lied.

    What IS the nuclear option? The nuclear option would be eliminating the filibuster altogether, preventing the minority party from being able to stop a bill from getting an up or down vote without achieving cloture first. This didn’t do that. The procedure used was the same, but Reid only opposed what would have been the end result under Frist…not the process itself.

  • GomeznSA

    Actually he knows it WOULD work exactly as designed should it by some fluke manage to pass – it would further destroy our economy. That destruction is one of barry’s goals (you know ‘fundamentally transform America’) – OTOH he also knows it has absolutely no chance to pass but he also knows that if he repeats the ‘obstructionist Republicans’ meme, there are (more than?) enough gullible people out there who will believe him. Not to mention the continuing echo of that theme by the msm……………..

  • DMTyler

    Adam, the passing of legislation is an area that is exclusive to the Senate, not involving other branches of our republican form of government.  Reid has subverted the deliberative process of the Senate by stopping the amendment procedure after filibuster.  He did this for political expediency and it goes against the purpose and traditions of the Senate and is an act of political despotism. 

    He has thrown the integrity of the US Senate under the bus.

  • AgTrotter

    Does it hurt much when you contort yourself so severely?

  • StanW

    Adam, you are splitting hairs in a pathetic attempt to absolve Harry Reid from his hypocrisy.

    You are also deliberately avoiding the other HUGE issue of Obama DEMANDING the bill get voted on and blaming Republicans for obstructing it; all the while it was HIS OWN PARTY stopping vote on the bill.

  • AgTrotter

    I demand that Generalissimo Napolitano add Reid’s name to her list of domestic terrorists.

    /sarcasm (kind of)

  • Adam Moreira

    Reid essentially told Obama: mind your own business, I don’t answer to you.

  • StanW

    You make sure and let me know how that works out for Reid.

  • Adam Moreira

    Big difference there – that was actually a matter of numbers. Republicans didn’t have the numbers to launch a filibuster until Scott Brown was seated.

    In the case of Robert Bork, Dems DID control the Senate at the time. And yes, both parties have approved idiots to the Supreme Court – such as Sam Alito.

  • Adam Moreira

    Reid was telling Obama essentially to take a seat at the back of the bus insofar as the Senate is concerned, in that Obama doesn’t control the party; this is in essence a power struggle.

  • GomeznSA

    Good observations. I’ll go even a bit further: both times in recent history that the dims have had complete control (first two years of clinton & barry in case anyone needs to be reminded) of the whitehouse and both sides of congress (usually with substantial majorities in each) – they have essentially FAILED to get anything of substance rammed thru. I guess you can say barry ‘succeeded’ with obamacare – if you want to call that a win.
    I almost felt sorry for old slickwillie when he got essentially smacked in the kisser by his own party when he tried to push thru some of his social engineering projects and the ‘bluedogs’ fought him. Of course once I figured out his goals (as epitomized by hillarycare) I didn’t have any sympathy for him whatsoever.
    WAAAAAAYYYY too many of the alleged congressional conservatives have over the years been too ‘gentlemanly’ and been willing to go along to get along – there is a time and place for that but not ALL the time. Being “nice” to the dims just gives them opportunity to trample on anyone who disagrees with them.

  • reddarin

    >Seems the GOP is attempting to tear down the government

    If you knew what you were talking about instead of just being a brain dead liberal zombie you wouldn’t come across as so stupid Patrick.

    The ‘nuclear option’ was fiercely opposed by the Democrats when they were in the minority and the Republicans considered the option. It went on for a few weeks and was well covered by the liberal mainstream media.

    And here we are a few years later with Harry Reid, one of the most vocal opponents, using it to stop a vote on the Bill he sponsored that the President is constantly demanding a vote on.

  • reddarin

    That is a great idea. A Republican should sponsor the bill so we can force the (D) in the House to vote it down.

  • Keith1941

    You’re right about the Dems controlling the Senate when Bork came up for confirmation.  Of course, I remember that great “moral” leader in the Senate, Ted Kennedy, leading the opposition!

    Sam Alito….an idiot?  I guess you didn’t notice these appointees by Bubba & obama.

  • AgTrotter

    Adam, compared to you, Alito is a friggin’ legal giant.

  • reddarin

    >What IS the nuclear option?

    No you dummy. The nuclear option is not tied to the filibuster. It is specifically using a simple majority to change Senate rules. *That* is the nuclear option. That is what Reid was up in arms about a few years ago. That is what he just did.

  • Adam Moreira

    Of them…only Elena Kagan’s qualifications are in significant question to me.

  • Adam Moreira

    When Reid spoke out against it. however, he spoke out against its end result only.

  • Adam Moreira

    Cloture should mean just that, however—cloture, debate is over, vote up or down.

  • JayC777

    Compared to Adam, Trig Palin is a friggin’ legal giant.

    You’re not saying much there.

  • Bubbub

    Right… or it is coordinated and proceeding exactly as intended.  Obama goes around and cries about Republicans for obstructing his bill while Reid actually mainpulates Senate rules to prevent a vote.  Both count on sea lawyers like you parsing words to defend the whole game and on a media that is plenty eager to support the tactic.  Maybe it depends on what the definition of “is” is.  Every day the rules change along with what the liberals “meant” by yesterday’s actions and comments.  How fortunate we are to have you to explain it all to us.

  • TenFace

    Are you kidding me?  Do you really believe that?  Have fun drinking that kool aid, I’m glad you’re not letting facts get in the way of what you believe.  

  • TenFace

    Wow every major source I’ve read has called this move the nuclear option, every politician I’ve heard talking about it, democrat or republican has called this move the nuclear option.  The only person who is debating weather this is the nuclear option or not is Adam Moreia from Disqus, you’ll have to excuse me while I completely ignore what you are saying. 

  • Master Aries

    It needs a sponsor, and the dems wont sponsor it…and the republicans CANT sponsor it, because the moment they do its no longer Obama’s Save American Jobs Pass This Bill NOW Bill, its the “Evil Rich Republican Fat Cat Tax Bill”

    In the Senate it HAS a sponsor, so it could be voted on, if Harry Reid (who is its sponsor) wasnt actively trying to kill it.

  • Stratosaurus

    Y’all sound like you expect ANYTHING congressbozos do to make sense.  Hasn’t happened since the demoncrats took over congress in the mid-50s, and for the most part, have been the majority.  The bills passed have gutted what passed for true government and logic.  Comrades reidovic, piglosky, and their fellow-travelers have instituted a new slavery class which is dependent on the largesse of the demoncrats.  If you think they’ll do anything which could jeopardize their places at the trough, you’d be wrong.

  • TenFace

    Stan I couldn’t respond to the post you made that I wanted to, so I’ll do it here.  In a later post you point out how Adam is “deliberately avoiding the other HUGE issue”.  I’m sure you’ve noticed this already but this is standard MO for Adam.  I have to give him a little credit no matter how much you keep trying to bring the issue up, he’ll find a way to avoid it completely.

  • sunkgleska

    Let me see if this contry boy has this right.  The House of Representatives passes a Budget Bill and sends it to the Senate for a vote, as specified by the US Constitution.  The Senate led by Harry, of the Donkey Party, Reid decides to “obstruct”, as his position allows, the Legislative Process.  Us country folk know that a Donkey is part Mule and Harry is making me think they should change their mascot.  I would like to apologize to all folks who own apolitical mules and donkeys.  nothing more nothing less…YUP

  • AgTrotter


    Thanks Jay – there goes another monitor.

  • Master Aries

    if the media would cover the story honestly then they would.  But since they will immediatly forget that obama ever proposed this and just rant about how the republicans want to raise taxes for the next year…remember most people dont check their facts before they vote.

  • Liberal Soup N Crackers

    Is is essentially a declaration of political war by Harry Reid. He has to be the most incompetent Majority Leader the Senate has had in anybody’s lifetime.

  • StanW

    Thanks, Ten. I know this about Adam, as it is a common practice among Liberals. They appear to beleive that if they refuse to discuss an issue, that it does not exist.

  • reddarin

    If it is word for word the bill that Reid sponsored I don’t believe even the MSM could cover it up.

  • sunkgleska


  • Liberal Soup N Crackers

    There was a net gain of 4.7 million jobs created during the Bush administration. There 8.5 million  jobs created through 2006 until the Democrats took control of Congress again.

  • sunkgleska


  • reddarin

    >he spoke out against its end result only

    Okay Adam. Prove it. Show me a quote where Reid says he is okay fine with the Nuclear Option but thinks it is crossing the line for his blocking judges.

  • GomeznSA

    The media – cover a story honestly? Sir – surely you jest? When was the last time that happened?

  • GomeznSA

    Probably not – but who among the great unwashed masses would take the time to read it in its entirety? They would just wait for the media to tell them what it says and that it was the obstructionist Republicans trying to beat down their beloved dear leader……………..

  • Adam Moreira

    Compared to @JayC777:disqus, Barack Obama is a legal giant.

  • sunkgleska

    Anyone else out there amazed at how the Politicians are always using “procedures” that they have inserted into the rules of conduting the business of the House of Representatives and the Senate that have the ability to effectively bring the Legislative Process to a standstill with “not even the chance” of “discussion” or a “vote”.  I am speaking only for myself, but I expect those we have elected to get on with the “business” we sent them to Congress to complete.  nothing more nothing less…YUP

  • Adam Moreira

    It could be easily spun around as saying: I support the bill. Even if it’s done to force a vote – how will one explain sponsoring a bad bill to the voters?

  • Adam Moreira

    They are all wrong.

  • reddarin

    I have no doubt that the MSM would try to spin it that way. I just don’t think they’d be successful especially in the short term where it really counts for the 2012 election.

    The zombies that watch and believe the likes of Rachael Maddow and Keith O.? Well, it doesn’t really matter what the (R) do anyway.

  • RUexperienced

    Ryan or Boener can sponsor it. The rules don’t say that a Democrat has to sponsor the bill.

  • RUexperienced

    Sponsor it, then vote against it.

    I think it would be easy for most conservative Republicans to explain. (not so easy for a RINO)

  • reddarin

    John, that youtube clip doesn’t have the first part of the interview with Jim Demint and, most importantly, it doesn’t have the best part of the audio with Senator Demint and Mark’s intro and explanation of what Harry Reid did.

    Here is the full intro and interview:

    …Demint begins at 2:19.

  • cfranz

    You are correct.  My apologies.  It’s been a long time since Constitutional Law classes.

  • John Hayward

    Thanks, that is a much better audio clip.  I’ll have to ask Levin to start packaging the news for me, if he intends to keep making it.  Either that, or I’ll see if the Taiwanese animators can prepare amusing CGI summaries of his shows.

  • Master Aries

    umm has it happened?  ever?  that was more a blind hope than any statement of fact.