By a vote of 52-48 the Senate has invoked the nuclear option, and voted to break the Republican practice of filibustering President Obama’s nominees.
The new rule does not apply to legislation or Supreme Court nominees, but it is a giant step forward against the ceaseless Senate Republican campaign to obstruct President Obama’s nominees. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tried to get the Senate to adjourn until 5 PM today, but Democrats thwarted his move to stall for time.
The reason why this vote was necessary is that Senate Republicans have systematically abused rules that were designed to protect the minority to bring the body to a grinding halt. Support for going nuclear on Republican filibuster abuse has been building throughout the year. The movement to change the rules was led by several Senate Democrats who were elected within the last six years.
The chair ruled that a simple majority was now required for nominees. Republicans asked for a vote on the ruling of the chair and lost 48-52, so the vote was a little confusing, but a no vote was a vote for the nuclear option.
Before Republicans warn Democrats about what they will do when they get back the majority, they must first get the majority back. This a prospect that is looking more difficult each day. It was odd to hear McConnell warn what he will do when he is the Majority Leader when it is very possible that he won’t even be in the Senate after the 2014 election.
Democrats should have moved on this years ago. Harry Reid did his best to protect the history of the institution, but he finally realized that Republicans have no respect for history, or the Senate itself.
Reid did the right thing, and now the president will finally see his appointees confirmed, and the country will benefit from this change.