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

McConnell said Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidNevada's Heck won't say who he's backing for president GOP groups ride to rescue in 3 key Senate races Obama seeks down-ballot gains after being midterm loser 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.

Sens. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Black ties and french fries mingle at DC's Meridian Ball GOP seeks to block ObamaCare settlements with insurers MORE (R-Wyo.), Roy BluntRoy BluntObamaCare hikes create opening for GOP Republicans make M investment in Senate races: report GOP groups ride to rescue in 3 key Senate races MORE (R-Mo.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFreeing the False Claims Act Key GOP chairman calls for 'robust review' of AT&T-Time Warner deal Report: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas 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.