Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said the reason Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) used the so-called nuclear option to change filibuster rules for executive branch and judicial nominees was to distract from Obamacare and pack a key circuit court.
“The nuclear option was a blatant abuse of power. It was designed really to do two things. Number one, to change the topic from Obamacare,” Cruz said Thursday during a speech at an American Legislative Exchange Council event.
The second thing, Cruz continued, had to do with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats have pushed back on the court-packing argument, saying that Republicans had no problem confirming D.C. Circuit Court nominations under a Republican president.
“The nuclear option was directed exactly at that because it was directed at three judges on the D.C. Circuit [Court], the circuit that hears most of the challenges to the abuse of executive authority on Obamacare and everything else,” Cruz said. “Right now the D.C. circuit is evenly split with Republican nominees and Democratic nominees and what Harry Reid is trying to do is pack it with additional judges they believe will rubber stamp the president’s agenda.”
In November, Reid executed a procedural option often called the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules as it applied to judicial and executive nominees.
“Republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent President Obama from appointing his executive team or confirming judges,” Reid said on the Senate floor the day he triggered the nuclear option. “We’re burning wasted hours and wasted days between filibusters. I could say instead we’re burning wasted days and wasted weeks between filibusters. … It’s time to change. It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”