Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deployed the nuclear option yesterday, changing a Senate rule to allow a simple majority vote on certain presidential nominations. Republicans are angry, obviously — the rule change will keep them from blocking judicial nominations at will. Some financial analysts think that these feelings will lead to shutdown/debt crisis part two.
Politico's Ben White reports that the risk of a fiscal crisis in 2014 went up yesterday. Jaret Seiberg, a financial analyst at Guggenheim, told White, "We believe this [nuclear option]... increases the risk of another government shutdown on Jan. 15 and a debt default in the first half of 2014."
Stan Collender, Qorvis' National Director of Financial Communications, agrees (emphasis added):
"Given today's vote, it's hard to see how the House GOP can agree to anything with Senate Democrats without looking to their base like they are collaborating with the enemy. That decreases the already limited chance that the conference committee will be able to agree on much of anything. It also increases the prospects of another shutdown when the current CR expires in January. I now put the odds of it happening at 40 percent."
But of course, the White House denies that Reid's nuke will lead to another shutdown. Senior advisor Valerie Jarrett told White that Republicans "saw the negative impact that had on the economy the last time."
No Republicans are threatening shutdown, at least. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who battled with Reid over the rule change, called the nuclear option a "power grab." But "the solution to this problem is at the ballot box," he said yesterday. "We look forward to having a great election in 2014."
And as The New Republic's Alec MacGillis points out, partisan bickering is already bad and probably can't get much worse. "We have long since entered an era of total partisan warfare that would be difficult to escalate any further," he writes. "Bipartisan comity not only left the barn long ago; it had been tracked down and shot behind the woodpile."