Federal Relations

November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats Trigger ‘Nuclear Option’ – Eliminating Most Filibusters on Nominees

In a move that is sure to increase partisan tension, Senate Democrats made a historic move today and eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations – severely limiting political leverage for the Republican party. The change applies to all executive and judicial branch nominations with the exception of the Supreme Court and means that confirmation is now possible with a simple majority of 51 senators versus a supermajority of 60. Democrats currently hold 53 Senate seats.

President Obama, Senator Reid, and other democrats cited deep frustration and unnecessary obstruction of government that drove them to make this historical change. Obama noted in his speech, that in the few decades prior to him taking office, a total of 20 nominees were filibustered. There have already been 30 nominees filibustered just since he took office in 2009. Republicans warned of the repercussions on democrats if the GOP regains control of the chamber in 2014.

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