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Friday, October 28, 2016

Washington (AFP) – The U.S. Senate took the potentially explosive step Thursday of changing its rules to allow executive and lower court nominees to be approved by a simple majority vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the move, known in Washington as the “nuclear option,” to end what he considered long-standing abuses of blocking procedures that for more than two centuries have required a 60-vote threshold — instead of a simple majority vote — to overcome.

The so-called filibuster would remain intact for Supreme Court nominations and for all legislation.

The move could dramatically ease the bottleneck on stalled nominees including federal judges, but lawmakers worry it could almost certainly curtail the influence of the party in the Senate minority and lead to an escalation of partisanship.

They also warned it would dramatically boost the partisan nature of presidential picks — regardless of which party holds the White House.

“I think you’ll see harder-edged partisan choices, and the filter that exists today to kind of weed those folks out is going to be less,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

The Senate vote was 52-48, with three Democrats voting against the rules change. A motion to overturn the change failed.

Republican were livid about the sudden moves by Reid, who earlier this year made similar threats to use the nuclear option, but it was averted with a last-minute compromise.

“This is a power grab,” argued Senator Lamar Alexander. “It’s another partisan political maneuver to permit the Democratic majority to do whatever it wants to do.

“In this case it’s to advance the president’s regulatory agenda, and the only cure for it that I know is an election,” he said.

Republicans contend that Reid used complex procedural tactics to break Senate rules that require that any changes to those rules be made by a super-majority of two-thirds of senators.

AFP Photo/Mladen Antonov

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • moelarryandjesus

    Anything that makes Repiglicans whine like this is a good thing.

    I’d like to hot sauce the whole bunch of them.

    • docb

      Republicans object to this rule change as a matter of deeply held
      principle, we can be sure that when they have a Senate majority, they
      will immediately restore the filibuster. Right?

      • moelarryandjesus


        Even if Reid hadn’t made this move, the filibuster was dead the second the Teabaggers got the majority.

  • Zoey Kay

    What a drama queen! It’s not allowing the Dems to do whatever they want. It will still take 60 votes for a bill to pass. It’s simply stopping the Rethuglicans from stopping every bill from coming up for the vote. So now I dare them to vote “no” on every bill that will help the American people, so we can see where they truly stand just in time for 2014.

  • Stuart

    Are Democrats finally developing a backbone?

  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    Since those who preach from collectivism’s altar constantly conjure up an ever-shifting mirage of utopian illusions, their followers tend to have a difficult time understanding spontaneous events and natural order.

  • Defend Liberty

    While many collectivist demands arise from nothing but the anti-social passion of envy, gratifying envy by cloaking it under the veil of “social justice” has become a grave threat to liberty.