On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition.
I'm joining Senator Jeff Merkley and six other newly elected senators to pledge to lead this reform on Day One, and I hope you'll be right there with us. Our campaign didn't end on Election Day -- and I'm counting on you to keep on working each and every day to bring real change for working families. This is the first step.
President Obama strongly defended U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice against attacks Wednesday by a trio of Republican senators who said she is ill-qualified to serve as secretary of state because of how she explained the roots of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Bristling with evident indignation during a news conference, Obama said Rice has "done exemplary work" with "skill, professionalism and toughness and grace."
He then made a pointedly and almost personal challenge to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) who earlier Wednesday said Rice is unqualified to lead the State Department because she appeared either misinformed or ill-prepared to discuss the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, on national political talk shows a few days after the attack.
"If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody they should go after me," Obama said. "For them to go after the UN ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi...to besmirch her reputation is outrageous."
Obama said he hasn't made any final decisions on who to nominate to Cabinet posts in his second term, but said that he would not hesitate to nominate Rice even in the face of Republican opposition.
Graham responded to Obama's comments by e-mail just as the press conference concluded. "Mr. President, don't think for one minute I don't hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi," Graham said in a statement. "I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack."
Graham joined with McCain and Ayotte Wednesday to call for Watergate-style hearings on the Libya attack, while also saying they would block Rice's nomination, if it occurs.
"I am dead-set on making sure that we don't promote anybody who was an essential player in the Benghazi debacle," Graham told reporters.
McCain added later that they would not rule out mounting a filibuster of the nomination.
Senate Republicans have pledged to continue their obstructionist ways by using the Senate's obsolete filibuster rule to act out these petty threats and partisan strategies.
They have shown no desire to heed the will of voters.
They are dead-set to act in any way that can deny this president effective implementation of his policies.
Their monumental hypocrisy on national security issues especially demands we ignore them. McCain and Graham have been demanding we go to war with Iran for months, if not years.
Senate Republicans cannot be trusted to act in our nation's best interest. They continue to try to turn everything into a petty political football, and their use of the filibuster enables their obstructionism.