This from today’s Washington Post “A Likely Script for The ‘Nuclear Option'”:
a senior Republican Senate aide confirmed that [Senate Majority Leader] Frist does not plan to consult [Senate parliamentarian, Alan S.] Frumin at the time the nuclear option is deployed. “He has nothing to do with this,” the aide said. “He’s a staffer, and we don’t have to ask his opinion.”
So, the Senate Parliamentarian (who was appointed by the Republican leadership and served previously as Parliamentarian in the 1990s) has nothing to do with the process of a ruling on the floor of the Senate changing the rules. Here is the description of the duties of the parliamentarian (from the People > Officers & Staff > Secretary of the Senate” href=”http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/secretary_senate.htm”>U.S. Senate website)
The parliamentarian advises the presiding officer, senators and their staffs, committee staffs, representatives and their staffs, administration officials, the media, and members of the general public on all matters requiring an interpretation of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the precedents of the Senate, unanimous consent agreements, and provisions of public law affecting the proceedings of the Senate. In the name of the presiding officer, the parliamentarian refers to the appropriate Senate committees all legislation, messages, communications, reports from the executive branch, and petitions and memorials from state legislatures and private citizens.
Apparently, the senior Republican Senate aide quoted above must not think that changing the Senate rules has to do with “matters requiring an interpretation of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the precedents of the Senate”. Either that or they simply don’t want any advice on the interpretation of the rules from the one person who is the Senate’s expert on the subject. I guess when power is involved, information is not required.