Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) is offering a compromise plan to help break the deadlock over nominations for the Federal Elections Commissions. The FEC is moribund at the moment because it doesn't have a quorum. It doesn't have a quorum because all the nominations are tied up over whether Hans von Spakovsky, a Bush administration apparatchik who has dedicated most of his public career at making it harder for the poor and minorities to vote. Von Spakovsky doesn't have the votes to be confirmed on his, which is why Republicans are demanding that all the nominations be grouped together and voted on as a package.
Reid's compromise would guarantee that another (already nominated, non-controversial) GOP FEC candidate would immediately be confirmed to take von Spakovsky's seat if he is rejected. But the compromise is reportedly dead in the water, because Republicans refuse to budge if von Spakovsky is not part of the deal.
But that obscures the real issue. Republicans don't actually care if von Spakovsky gets on the FEC or not. They just know that they can use him to block the nominations in general and make the FEC impotent during the election, removing any risk of independent oversight and making it easier for sleazy and/or illegal campaign tactics to go unabated. The "compromise" is dead because Democrats can't give Republicans what they want -- a free field to break the law in 2008.