CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Neither of West Virginia's two Democratic senators has offered any indication of whether or not they will support their leader's proposal to end filibusters on presidential nominees.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants the Senate to eliminate filibusters used to block nominees to head federal agencies, choices which must be approved by the Senate.
Senate rules require 60 votes to end debate and stop a filibuster, rather than a simple majority of the 100 senators, which is all that is needed to pass legislation.
Reid has said he would back off if Republicans agreed to approve seven of President Obama's pending nominees, including the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Labor Department, as well as National Labor Relations Board members.
Senate Republicans have blocked votes on some of the nominees for years. They have not allowed a vote on the head of the CFPB since that agency was formed in 2011.
Reid said his proposal, called the "nuclear option" by some, would not affect future debates on pending legislation or on approving judicial nominees.
Neither Sens. Joe Manchin nor Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., indicated exactly what their positions are.
Jonathan Kott, Manchin's press secretary, said Friday, "There is no final plan of what the proposal is or whether it will be reworked in any way. There will be a meeting on Monday night."
Reid agreed to a request by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to hold the Monday meeting in the Old Senate Chamber, beginning at 6 p.m.
Andrew Beckner, Rockefeller's press secretary in West Virginia, did not provide any information about what position Rockefeller will take during discussions at the Monday meeting.
Historically, filibusters have helped minority parties in the Senate challenge legislation proposed by majority parties.
Reid has said he believes he will get the 50 votes needed to approve his proposal.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.