Informal Agreement on Nominations Could be Tested Soon

The first effort “to break through what White House counsel Bob Bauer called a cold war political standoff over judicial confirmations will take place this week, as Senate Democrats will re-consider a batch of stalled nominees,” the Huffington Post reports.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to send at least eleven nominations to the floor, likely this Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), meanwhile, has expressed his desire to hold a vote on one or a few of those nominees before the caucus leaves for its upcoming retreat.

"We should expect to see anywhere from one to a handful of votes on judicial nominees end of the week or early next week," a Senate Democratic leadership aide said.

The idea, explained the aide, is to test whether an informal agreement between Republicans and Democrats to either filibuster less or expedite the confirmation process has had any tangible impact. The nominees being re-considered by the Judiciary Committee were categorized as non-controversial holdovers from the last Senate session. Democratic lawmakers want to clear those confirmations through unanimous consent in the Senate before turning their sights to judicial nominees that were passed through committee last session by party-line vote.

Whether Republicans in the chamber will sign off on those plans could prove to be a telling indication of whether more comity has been brought to the new Congress. On Tuesday, Bauer made a rare public plea for lawmakers to speed up the confirmation process.

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