McConnell said Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidCongress departs for recess until after Election Day How Congress averted a shutdown Congress steamrolls Obama's veto 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.
“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.