McConnell accuses Dems of using a 'manufactured crisis' to change the rules

McConnell said Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTrump: 'I'd have to think about' Cruz for Supreme Court Reid: Judiciary a 'rubber stamp' for Trump-McConnell Reid: Cruz, Lee on Supreme Court should 'scare you' MORE (D-Nev.) is rumored to be considering the “nuclear option” — where the majority party can vote to change the rules during a congressional session, weakening minority rights.

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Sens. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoObamaCare premiums expected to rise sharply amid insurer losses Palestine is latest GOP offensive in climate change wars Senate GOP sticks with leadership team MORE (R-Wyo.), Roy BluntRoy BluntOvernight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika Senate Dems accuse GOP of walking away from Zika deal MORE (R-Mo.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Reid: Judiciary a 'rubber stamp' for Trump-McConnell Overnight Defense: House panel approves 0B defense bill MORE (R-Iowa) joined McConnell in this call Wednesday morning.

“The nuclear option would irreparably change this institution,” Barrasso said.

At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Reid and McConnell negotiated a minor rule change in order to avoid Reid’s threat of a nuclear option. In return, Republicans were not supposed to oppose presidential nominees unless there were “extraordinary” circumstances.

“It’s very difficult to reach agreements in the United States Senate, but when you reach an agreement, particularly if they’re by the leaders of the Senate, a person’s word is their bond, and that bond ought to be kept,” Grassley said. “When a United States senator reaches an agreement and gives his word, that should mean something around here.”

Democrats have complained that Republicans have blocked and delayed several of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Court and Cabinet secretaries.

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