The Democratic-controlled Senate on Thursday voted to invoke the so-called nuclear option out of frustration over Republicans who have been blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees.
Majority Leader Harry Reid insists his fellow Democrats will hold the majority in the U.S. Senate. He prodded the opposition, particularly Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, by suggesting the Republicans have been weakened by the most ideological conservatives in their party.
Reid noted that McConnell was tied in polls with a Democratic challenger even as he’d picked up a challenger in his GOP primary.
Democrats find a way to fracture the GOP hostility to basic governing.
Senate approves budget deal to avert fiscal cliff
Vice President Biden Swears in Brian Schatz as Senator from Hawaii
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced tonight Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye as the U.S. senator from Hawaii — not Sen. Inouye’s first choice.
On the day he died, the late senator wrote a letter to Abercrombie asking that he pick Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, to replace him.
Hanabusa made it to the final round of consideration, but she did not win the nomination.
"The charge of the central committee was to take all points of view into account, from Sen. Inouye and from the rank and file — the Democratic grass roots," Abercrombie said during a news conference on Wednesday evening. "No one and nothing was preordained."
Schatz served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006. In 2006, he launched an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. Congress.
Schatz served as chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii from 2008 to 2010. He was sworn in as lieutenant governor in December 2010.
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Monday naming Sen. Patrick Leahy the new president pro tempore, following the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii.
Inouye, 88, was the previous pro tempore and the Senate’s longest serving member. Now both designations belong to Leahy, who was first elected to the Senate in 1974.
Leahy is also third in line for succession following Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John A. Boehner.