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Senate nears deal to avoid 'nuclear' option

Jul. 16, 2013 - 06:18PM   |  
By SUSAN DAVIS   |   Comments
Sen. John McCain speaks during a news conference in this June photo. McCain says a deal has been reached to resolve the Senate's nominations backlog.
Sen. John McCain speaks during a news conference in this June photo. McCain says a deal has been reached to resolve the Senate's nominations backlog. (Menahem Kahana / AFP)

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he is increasingly confident the Senate can reach a bipartisan compromise to avert his plan today to invoke the “nuclear option” to make it easier to confirm presidential executive branch nominations.

“We may have a way forward on this. I feel fairly confident,” Reid said on the floor Tuesday morning, crediting the efforts of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to reach a deal to approve seven pending nominations to the National Labor Review Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“John McCain is the reason we’re at the point we are,” Reid said. “No one was able to break through but him.”

Reid declined to offer details on the potential deal. Republicans on Monday floated a compromise that would allow five of the seven nominations to be confirmed, but Reid insisted Monday that it was all seven nominees or nothing.

Reid’s tone today was more conciliatory toward compromise following a three-hour private meeting late Monday with the full Senate. “I think it is going to be something that is good for the Senate,” he said.

Reid is expected to discuss the potential compromise with Vice President Joe Biden and the Senate Democratic leadership team over lunch. If no deal is reached, Reid has vowed to move forward with a controversial plan to change Senate filibuster rules on executive nominations to make it easier to approve President Obama’s nominees.

Susan Davis writes for USA TODAY.

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