TRENT LOTT SAYS GOP REVERSAL OF SENATE “NUCLEAR OPTION” WOULD SIGNAL REAL CHANGE
by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa
Appearing on The Costa Report, former Senator Majority Leader Trent Lott urged the new GOP-led Congress to put an end to gridlock in the nation's capital by tackling "systemic changes." Lott said one of the changes which would signal a return to "regular order" would be the reversal of the "nuclear option." The nuclear option was instituted by Democrats in 2013 to inhibit Republican filibustering of President Obama's judicial nominees. The option requires a simple majority to confirm a nominee – a parliamentary change which Republicans vehemently objected to when they represented a minority. Now that Republicans hold a majority position, there is speculation as to whether they will exploit, or reverse, the nuclear option. Lott sided with John McCain's observation that any failure to end the use of the nuclear option would be hypocritical given statements made by Republicans that the procedure would "poison the well" of the Senate.
Lott also encouraged the GOP to restore power to Senate committees. According to Lott, these legislative sub-organizations have been largely dormant for the past two years, despite consisting of "capable, experienced people" who have a proven history of legislative leadership. Lott said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be "well advised" to reinstate the authority once granted to committee chairs.
In addition, Lott echoes Tom Daschle's recommendation that GOP leaders encourage members of Congress to spend more time in Washington. Presently, Senators legislate in the capital an average of only one day a week. Complicating matters is the fact that, "The House and the Senate, for the last two years, often have not been in session the same weeks." Lott said this absenteeism was recently addressed by McConnell, who called for fewer recesses, a full work week, and a pledge for Senators to be present for voting on Fridays.
To hear the full interview with Trent Lott, visit www.thecostareport.com