The Senate detonated the nuclear option to do away with the filibuster for Executive and most Judicial Branch nominees, allowing the body to cut off debate on these votes with a simple majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold that had previously stood. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set in motion a series of arcane procedures, little understood outside the body, to change the way the Chamber operates with only 51 votes, rather than the normal 67. Since the vote dramatically weakened the minority, it was a galling blow to them, and no Republican voted for the change, although 3 Democrats voted against it.
National Journal: How Harry Reid Pulled the Nuclear Trigger in the Senate
Procedural rules are mystifying to the vast majority of the public, so it helps to have someone explain them clearly. Roll Call’s rules expert Niels Lesniewski held an open thread on Reddit explaining what happened.
Reddit: I’m Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call newspaper and I know why the Senate changed its filibuster rules. AMA about the nuclear option and if it’s really all that radioactive.
Without a doubt, this will have long-term consequences for the country. Supporters say this will make the Congress more efficient. Others warn that it will heighten the significance of elections, lead to more radical judges, and any number of things.
Politico: Filibuster Vote Raises Stakes for 2014
Politico: In the Post-Nuclear Landscape, Uncharted Terrain
RealClearPolitics: Krauthammer on Filibuster Change: “Democrats Will Absolutely Rue the Day”
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