The Senate recently voted to amend the chamber’s rules that would eliminate the filibuster for confirmations of all presidential nominations except for Supreme Court Justices.
The rule change is a shift of power from Congress to the executive branch. The nuclear option was approved by the Senate by a majority of 52 to 48, which means that from now on, for the approval of the nominees, instead of a straight 60 votes only a majority vote would be required to vote on any new nominee.
Filibuster legislation or Supreme Court nominations will not be affected at all by this change.
Under Majority Leader Harry Reid’s new rules, only a simple majority would be required for all executive and judicial nominees other than those to the Supreme Court.
It was mentioned by Reid that the Republicans had their right to oppose the nominees, but in order to do so they must vote against the nominees in a full floor vote and should not block any such votes from taking place only.
Republicans this year also blocked nominees to head the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Labor Department and several other executive branch vacancies.
However, this rule change has been strongly opposed by the Republicans and they have warned the Democrats that this move by them will have regretting consequences once the President’s party is no longer controlling the chamber.
Some neutered Republicans alleged that this change by Mr. Reid was attempted at distracting the attention of the public and government from the badly flawed Obama health-care program and was also a violation of the rules of the Senate. The GOP also warns that it brings the chamber closer to eliminating the filibuster on all votes, including legislative ones.