After months-long threats and last-minute deals to avoid a major rules change in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid led the chamber in eliminating the 60-vote majority needed to vote on most presidential nominations. The vote began at a little past noon, with 52 Democrats voting to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed to invoke cloture and avoid a filibuster — a threshold that Democrats said has kept too many of President Obama’s nominees from a final vote in the Senate. Democratic Sens. Carl Levin, Joe Manchin and Mark Pryor voted against the rule change. No Republicans voted for the change.
Fox News is very unhappy.
It’s a defining feature, for better or worse, of the U.S. Senate — the power of the minority to gum up the works through what’s known as a filibuster. While this makes the Senate one of the most deliberative (read that as, slowest) legislative bodies in the world, it also prevents legislation and appointments from moving too fast. But now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is moving to undermine that right. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell charged that Reid’s attempt proves the Democrats are willing to “do and say just about anything” to get their way. The particulars of what Reid is doing are highly technical but make Republicans seethe.
Of course, this could come back to haunt the Democrats the next time there’s a GOP majority in the Senate and a Republican president in the White House.