- Harry Reid Goes Nuclear
- November 27, 2013
- Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
In a move that is sure to raise the partisan rancor in Washington even more, this week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the so-called nuclear option eliminating the use of the filibuster on all Presidential nominees except Supreme Court nominations.
By a vote of 52-48, the Senate approved the change, which means Presidential nominees will no longer have to clear the traditional 60-vote threshold. Three Democrats voted against changing the rules — Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Republicans reacted swiftly and strongly to the unprecedented change to Senate rules. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who tried to recess the Senate for the day before the rules change, could get a vote. He said after: “I don’t think this is a time to be talking about reprisal. I think it’s a time to be sad about what has been done to the United States Senate.”
Republicans also circulated previous statements from both Reid and President Obama opposing the exact rule change they now supported.
Democrats and the White House tried to paint the move as a way to stop Republican "obstruction." In remarks delivered after the nuclear option was invoked, President Obama said:
“It’s no secret that the American people have probably never been more frustrated with Washington, and one of the reasons why that is, is that over the past five years, we’ve seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that’s prevented too much of the American people’s business from getting done. Today’s pattern of obstruction just isn’t normal. We can’t allow it to become normal.”