In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Reid Eyes Serial Votes On Obama Nominees In Key Nuclear Option Test

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AP Photo / Cliff Owen

The idea is to set up back-to-back-to-back confirmation votes on Cordray, Labor Secretary nominee Tom Perez, and Gina McCarthy, whom Obama nominated to serve as EPA administrator -- and perhaps others.

Lumping Cordray in with the rest will result in a more dramatic demonstration, top Democrats believe, than trickling the nominees out slowly.

That effectively puts Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on a collision course. If McConnell caves or works out an agreement with Reid, then the nuclear option will become inoperative. But if he doesn't and these confirmation votes fail, then Reid will either have to admit defeat or do ... something. In that sense he's essentially building a "permission structure" for himself and his caucus to do something about the rules in the event that Republicans make good on their threats.