By Brian Beutler
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the president’s pick for Commerce Secretary, just revealed during an interview with CNBC that he would recuse himself from congressional votes while his nomination is being considered by his former Senate colleagues.
Things would be different if he had, for instance, resigned in anticipation of his confirmation. But a cloture vote only succeeds if at least three-fifths of all duly elected and serving members of the Senate vote ‘yes’. With Gregg still seated, the Democrats need 60 votes to end debate, even if he votes ‘present’. If all caucus members vote yes, they have 58. They need two. Gregg could have been one of those two. But of course, Gregg has nothing but the utmost respect his soon-to-be boss–who has, of course, committed to changing Washington–and to vote the way Obama wants him to would appear unseemly.