Senate invokes ‘nuclear option,’ guts filibuster power

Senate invokes ‘nuclear option,’ guts filibuster power
# 21 November 2013 23:49 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Senate has voted to change one of its most fundamental rules, invoking the so-called “nuclear option” to prevent the minority party from filibustering the presidential nominees, APA reports quoting Press TV.


The 52-48 vote overturned an existing rule that required a 60-vote majority for the approval of presidential nominees to fill court vacancies and other offices. Under the new rule, all executive branch and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court picks need a simple majority to be confirmed.

The unprecedented change was approved after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) invoked the “nuclear option,” which allows a change to Senate rules by majority vote.

Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) were the only Democrats who voted with Republicans against the measure.

At the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama applauded the vote as it would ease the way for a swift approval of his current and future nominees.

"The vote today, I think, is an indication that a majority of senators believe as I believe that enough is enough," Obama said. "The American people’s business is far too important to keep falling prey day after day to Washington politics."

The vote capped more than a decade of struggle in which both Republican and Democratic presidents have complained about delaying tactics in confirming presidential nominees, particularly to the federal courts.

Obama said Republicans had used the past rules "as a reckless and relentless tool to grind all business to a halt."

Sen. Reid also accused Republicans of "unprecedented obstruction" of Obama's nominees.

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