Republicans have now voted down three qualified nominees to U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, triggering a fight to change the rules about how executive branch and most judicial nominations are approved. On Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) began the process of deploying the “nuclear option,” allowing nominees to be approved with a simple majority vote. But at least according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democrats aren’t taking on this fight because they want to prevent obstruction in the Senate. Rather, they simply want take attention off of Obamacare.
“Over the past several weeks, the American people have been witness to one of the most breathtaking indictments of big government liberalism in memory,” McConnell said on the Senate floor in response to Reid. “The president and his Democratic allies were so determined to force their vision of health care on the public that they assured them up and down that they wouldn’t lose the plans they had, that they’d save money instead of losing it, and that they’d be able to use the doctors and hospitals that they were already using. But of course we know that rhetoric just doesn’t match reality.”
McConnell suggested that Democrats want to push for filibuster reform simply because they need something to distract angry Americans from the truth about Obamacare.
“I’d probably looking for an exit, too, if I had supported this law. I’d be looking to change the subject, just as Senate Denocrats have been doing with their threats of going nuclear and changing the Senate rules on nominations,” the Senate Minority Leader said. “Millions of Americans are hurting because of a law that Washington Democrats forced upon them, and what do they do about it? They cook up some fake fight over judges.”
In fact, this fight stretches far back before Obamacare’s insurance exchanges first opened to the public last month. Reid actually took the first step to trigger the nuclear option way back in July, long before Republicans were raising concerns about broken websites and insurance cancellation letters.
Republicans have been fixated on the Americans who are being told that they may have to switch plans under Obamacare, despite President Obama’s promise to the contrary, as proof that the health reform law is unworkable. The health law’s rocky rollout has been widely panned, but Americans aren’t quite as angry as McConnell suggests. Some of the people whose current plans are being canceled have been pleased to discover that they will gain good coverage under the health reform law. And most people say they plan on eventually enrolling in an insurance plan under Obamacare even if they’ve had issues with the website so far.