How About Confirming Gregg Tonight?
With all the sausage-making going on, and with the margins of victory so thin, I'm shocked that Senate Democrats haven't come up with the idea of immediately confirming Judd Gregg. Clearly they need every vote they can get, even putting out the call to Ted Kennedy to return to the Senate if possible:
After five days of debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed optimism about the prospects for passage, and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel traveled to the Capitol in mid-afternoon to join the negotiations.
At the same time, officials strongly suggested that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's vote would be needed to assure passage. The Massachusetts Democrat, battling a brain tumor, has been in Florida in recent days and has not been in the Capitol since suffering a seizure on Inauguration Day more than two weeks ago. The senator's office did not comment.
Judd Gregg right now is recusing himself from all these votes while awaiting confirmation as Commerce Secretary. The Senate could confirm him tonight - I'd be shocked if they didn't have the votes, Republicans would have to vote against one of their own colleagues - reducing the number of Senators to 98 (the seat in Minnesota is still not filled). That would mean that only 59 votes would be required to break a filibuster, in which case you would only need Olympia Snowe or George Voinovich. If Bonnie Newman attempts to be seated, mount a filibuster to block her unless and until Al Franken is seated. Either way, you reduce the number of votes required for passage by one. They should have done this the day Gregg was nominated.
When you're talking about job loss like this, you really ought to pull out all the stops.