Reid Passes 'Nuclear Option,' Changes Rules on Filibuster

Historic vote means presidential nominees need simple majority

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 21, 2013 11:40 AM CST

(Newser) – The so-called "nuclear option" just happened: The Senate voted to weaken filibusters and make it all but impossible for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts, reports the AP. While the filibuster can't be used on those nominations, it's still fair game on legislation and for Supreme Court nominees. The mostly party-line vote on the historic move was 52-48, and this line from the New York Times fits the general tone of the coverage: "The change is the most fundamental shift in the way the Senate functions in more than a generation."

Party leaders traded shots like these before the vote: “It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete," said Harry Reid, as per Politico. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell countered, "You’ll regret this, and you might regret it even sooner than you might think." For the record, the "nuclear option" refers to Reid changing the Senate rules via a majority vote, explains the Hill. In the short term, it means that three of President Obama's stalled appointments to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals will be able to move forward.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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