“What a shame.” That was the quote from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the upper chamber floor Wednesday afternoon, lamenting the fact the had to end the debate on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel by filing cloture. Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule, the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, which is normally 60 votes. Got it? Reid claims its a first in the history of the country that a nominee will require the 60 votes to be confirmed. The White House says it is still confident that Hagel will be approved and it’s not a matter of if but when. The move comes as the Senate Intelligence Committee delayed voting to President Obama’s CIA pick, John Brennan because the panel wants the administration to turn over more details about drone strikes and the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Libya. It’s become more and more commonplace on Capitol Hill these days for lawmakers to play “small ball,” relying on arcane tactics that often stall the legislative process. Late Baltimore Orioles Manager Earl Weaver famously eschewed such “small ball” efforts as bunting and base stealing in favor of encouraging hitters to swing away and hit home runs. The Hall of Famer once said, “they key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.” Congress may want to take a page from the legend who won a lot of games just down the beltway. We’ll discuss “small ball,” cabinet confirmations and more when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
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