Nuclear: Senate May Finally Reform Filibuster Rules After GOP Obstruction
After weeks of Republicans blocking President Barack Obama’s judicial appointments, Harry Reid and the Democrats appear poised to finally “go nuclear” and impose a filibuster rules change that would require just a majority vote for all non-Supreme Court presidential nominees. Under normal Senate rules, a rule change would require a two-thirds vote to be approved but the nuclear option is an old loophole in the Senate rules that allows the Senate Majority Leader to invoke a majority vote.
Senate Democrats are reportedly meeting on Thursday to discuss the rules change. The idea of going nuclear is nothing new, Republicans have slowed legislation to a halt since the last election. Many senior Senators have long been opposed to the idea of reforming the Senate rules because Republicans would then have the same power of pushing through nominees at will if they ever get control of the Senate back.
Recent efforts by the likes of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to block Obama’s nominees for the powerful D.C. Circuit Court have worn on the Senate Democrats and top Senate vets like Reid, Vermont Senator Pat Leahy, and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have all flip-flopped from their past positions and are ready to put an end to ceaseless GOP obstruction. Michigan Senator Carl Levin has been the only senior Senator to continue to oppose the rules change while Montana Senator Max Baucus and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill have been non-committal. The Democrats hold 55 seats in the Senate so Reid could push through the filibuster reform bill even without support from those three Senators.
Republicans recently blocked all three of the President’s nominees for the court after already blocking one earlier this year. George Bush saw four of his nominees for the powerful court confirmed during his administration, Obama has pushed through just one.
The D.C. Circuit Court is just a notch below the Supreme Court. The court reviews federal regulation, financial regulation, and even healthcare legislation. The court currently has three empty seats while four are held by Democratic-appointed judges and four are held by Republican-appointed judges.
(Image: Senate Democrats)