Nuclear option avoided – vote cleared for McCarthy

A last-minute deal Tuesday avoided a blowup of the Senate over President Obama’s nominees and cleared the way for a confirmation vote for Gina McCarthy, the president’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

McCarthy once headed Connecticut’s environmental protection agency.

She was caught up in a bitter partisan fight over a group of nominees that prompted Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to threaten to hold a vote to change Senate rules so nominees like McCarthy could no longer be threatened with a filibuster.

The move is  called the “nuclear option” because it would end any chance of bipartisanship.

In the end, Reid came to an agreement with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and other Republicans.

The deal was this: Obama would withdraw two candidates for the National Labor Relations Board who were opposed by the GOP  — Richard Griffin, Jr. and Sharon Block — and replace them with two new ones.

In return, McCarthy and other pending nominees will get confirmation votes later this week.

“We want what we want. They got what they want. It’s not a bad deal. Reid said.