Senate: New Rules on Filibusters

21 November 2013 |permalink | email article

A historic and bitterly divided Senate voted Thursday to ease the confirmation process for most presidential nominees, a momentous and potentially risky step that limits the ability of Republicans to block President Barack Obama’s choices for executive-branch and most judicial posts. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D.,Nev. engineered the rules change, over Republican objections, with a complicated parliamentary maneuver that ended up placing new curbs on the use of the filibuster—a move so controversial that it is often called the “nuclear option.” The American people believe Congress is broken. The American people believe the Senate is broken….It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete. The key vote was 52-48, with all but three Democrats—Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—voting for the change and all 45 Republicans opposed. The move would limit the ability of the minority party to deploy a filibuster, a delaying and blocking tactic. In an institution that prides itself on giving power to the minority party, the filibuster is the minority’s main source of leverage. The rules change, advanced by Reid, makes it easier to confirm nominations along party lines.



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