Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Tuesday that he regretted Senate Democrats’ move in 2013 to reduce the number of votes required to confirm Cabinet picks from 60 to 51.
“I argued against it at the time. I said both for Supreme Court and in Cabinet should be 60 because on such important positions there should be some degree of bipartisanship,” the newly-minted Senate minority leader told CNN’s Dana Bash, according to the network’s transcript. “I won on Supreme Court, lost on Cabinet. But it’s what we have to live with now.”
The so-called “nuclear option” that Senate Democrats exercised in 2013 may have given President-elect Donald Trump much greater freedom to choose unorthodox Cabinet members, knowing that Senate Democrats alone don’t have the votes to filibuster his nominees.
Included in Trump’s Cabinet roster are multiple picks with no experience at all in government, others who have for years been actively antagonistic against the agencies they may now lead, and some who may face conflicts of interest in governing industries in which they formerly operated.
During the Obama administration, Senate Democrats changed Cabinet confirmation rules as a response to perceived Republican obstructionism.
“Wish it hadn’t happened,” Schumer said Tuesday.