Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 2, 2015

Senate Democrats Poised to Vote for ‘Nuclear Option’

The New York Times reports that “Senate Democrats are on the verge of moving to eliminate the use of the filibuster against most presidential nominees, aides and senior party leaders said Wednesday, a move that would deprive Republicans of their ability to block President Obama’s picks for cabinet posts and the federal judiciary and further erode what little bipartisanship still exists in the Senate.”

“The problem, as Democrats see it, is that Republicans have effectively rewritten Senate rules to create a supermajority requirement for confirming presidential nominees. Filibustering cabinet-level officials, once extremely rare, is now routine.”

Republicans have denounced the threat. Said Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa: “Apparently the other side wants to change the rules while still preserving the ability to block a Republican president’s ability to replace a liberal Supreme Court Justice with an originalist.”

Sarah Binder: “If successful, the move would ban filibusters of executive and judicial branch nominees (save for the Supreme Court) by using a simple majority vote either to create a new precedent or to end debate on a new rule that would bar such filibusters.”

  • CJR

    Reform the filibuster.
    Eliminate the procedural filibuster completely. If somebody wants to filibuster, then make them stand up, and start talking.
    Change the cloture rules, as well. Instead of requiring 60 votes to get cloture, require 40 votes to PREVENT cloture.
    Filibusters were supposed to be used rarely because they were supposed to exact a very physical cost on the person using it.
    Make them rare again by doing the exact same thing.

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