Senate Avoids 'Nuclear Option' on Filibuster Deal

ABC News' Jeff Zeleny discusses what led to agreement to allow a vote on President Obama nominees.
7:52 | 07/16/13

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Transcript for Senate Avoids 'Nuclear Option' on Filibuster Deal
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello I'm Dan -- New York -- this ABC news digital special report is called the nuclear option. And senate Democrats threatened to use it if Republicans. Did not concede on several of president Obama's top nominees for federal positions. They've been stuck in limbo because Republicans have refused to vote on them but now it appears that nuclear option. Could be falling to the wayside it appears there could be a compromise taking place in the senate. That want to bring in ABC's senior Washington correspondent -- Johnny -- -- little about what's going on right now Jeff this is happening in real time. What's the latest because we got a senate majority leader Harry Reid last night had said. Obvious this is not an option he wanted to use but if in fact it would require so. They would go forward. -- and assists going on really as we speak here -- overnight there was an agreement reached between Democrats and Republicans. You know -- really it -- the beginning of -- and a possible end to this long running feud between senate majority leader Harry Reid. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. At issue here the senate is now. Were told by sources on both sides going to move forward and give confirmation votes to several top. Nominees that President Obama wants to be part of his -- team who have been languishing in the senate. The top three of those include Richard Cordray. He was nominated two years ago tomorrow to lead the consumer finance protection bureau a top but watchdog agency. As well as the new head of -- -- Labor Department and the headed the EPA. The Republicans. I'm some Republicans in the senate have raises deep questions about these nominees and have been holding on to them will be. Agreement that is underway probably going to be reached a later today officially. Would would pave the way for those of votes to begin this weekend. -- what are the what are the issues and other that Republicans are certainly having a problem with obviously with the EPA -- the Department of Labor. Other also seem to be the did the labor and environment issues obviously seem to -- -- -- rearing their heads in -- DC gridlock. You know question and -- really one of the issues that -- consumer. A finance bureau Tom head has been languishing -- -- Republicans strongly disagree with. The establishment of this federal -- they believe that death figures beyond the scope in the mission is too intrusive. The Obama administration has says that it would -- protect consumers right service to this goes all the way back to Elizabeth Warren she's now the senator from Massachusetts but. She was the first. Person who was appointed to this board. -- Republicans in the senate blocked her confirmation as well. And now -- sir Richard Cordray for Ohio nominated two years ago tomorrow the former attorney general of Ohio to lead this consumer finance bureau so. But the bigger picture here really is so we've heard talk about a nuclear option the showdown going on. And what is happening the -- a partisan Rinker in the senate has grown so intense that Harry Reid the senate majority leader says he would take the extraordinary step. Of changing the rules that it would take only a simple majority 51 votes to confirm these nominees. As opposed to now it takes the sixty votes for the Republicans cried foul and said look that's not protecting our minority rights in the senate so -- it. -- Rinker has gone on back and forth but. A deal was reached with John McCain he's a time has come to the arrest you on this so before. The brink of a filibuster threat to some six years ago here in the sense -- he reached -- A deal with senate majority leader Harry Reid that should be announced later today but the bottom line is. At least for the moment some of -- Rinker in Washington is is lifting a bit and a little bit of business is being done. Jeff I know that obviously the situation is still developing and on the -- at the capitol right now but can explain the significance of why the National Labor Relations Board nominations. We're so contentious what Republicans really latched on. To those nominees. Well one of the reasons. That the appointees -- -- National Labor Relations Board which is an entity a federal agency that essentially mediate disputes between -- business. And -- on one of the reasons it was so contentious is the President Obama appointed him during a recess it's called a recess appointment when the senate is out of session it's one way the executive branch of president. -- -- put someone in that the senate does not like. President Obama's not the only presidents -- that it's happened before. But the Republicans have taken. These specific recess appointments to court and in fact the Supreme Court is going to have the final say. On recess appointments if they are are valid and legal. Under the law but the Republicans in the us senate have raised specific questions about these two. I'm appointees to be a National Labor Relations Board so the White House is giving some on this as well. We're told that part of this deal -- the White House would agree to remove. A couple of these appointees who were made. A during a legislative recess like I said and give a couple new members to the board so the two members who were controversial would be out -- It's. -- White House is a giving a concession on this and caving if you -- to Republican demands for new members of the national labor. Relations board this federal agency has long controversial. Because of its. It's a role in mediating disputes between business and labor it it's grown even more so in recent years because of Boeing a company disputes in South Carolina. And other. -- -- disputes around the country between business and labor. Right exactly because there was a suit that was filed from Boeing that its threatened to move its operations from Washington state of Washington on -- South Carolina and enrichment really. -- lot of the fire from Republicans. I -- -- ask you this last before we let you -- Jeff is -- surprising due to -- the White House gets so involved in kind of negotiating this kind of back and -- deal or was it inevitable. For the White House to make some kind of moves -- a compromise. I think it's inevitable at this point for the White House to be involved -- I saw the White House -- chief of staff Denis McDonough walking through the halls of the capitol yesterday. The president was calling democratic members of the senate. The bottom line is here there's so much gridlock in Washington he wanted to get things on stuck on frozen one advisor told me so he did not want to spend the rest of the year fighting. Over the I'm his a nominee to head the Labor Department and his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency these are entities that. I'm needs some leadership so the White House was willing to give a little bit on this. Treats an overall deal it's what sort of a compromise is all about here so Woolsey if this deal is -- today things can always change in the senate. But it looks like it's headed and poured some type of a deal but the White House won't get most of what it with. Once and we'll give up a little -- -- finger potentially off that nuclear button in Washington DC -- this is a vote and the first vote on this civil. That was just called moments ago candidates by vote of 71 to 29 so 71. Members of the senate have voted to move ahead with this -- more than a handful of Republicans that -- Two handfuls Republicans if you will joining Democrats to move forward on this bill. And that -- for the to move forward in the voter Richard Cordray and senator earlier Harry Reid just thanking everyone for that vote obviously moving forward we can see democracy in action right there. ABC's senior Washington correspondent Jeff -- Jeff thank you so much for your time for your insight and of course have a complete report on my pleasure -- -- Dot com. Ion some of president Obama's top level cabinet appointees moving forward with their nomination after -- negotiating process has taken place between Republicans and Democrats Democrats. Threat and fact to invoke -- nuclear option where are only a simple majority that would be 51 votes. In order to move forward on some of those nominees. And in fact now it appears as if the votes will remove export on at least some of the nominations that have been put up. In Washington DC for now I'm Dan that's our New York with -- ABC news digital special report. This has been a special -- Report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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