Thursday has brought with it a major change in Senatorial power plays, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. pushing a change to filibuster rules through the Senate using what’s referred to as the “nuclear option.” What the change will ultimately do in the short term is allow those previously blocked nominees chosen by President Barack Obama to be confirmed.
Republicans are predictably quite angry — now only fifty-one votes will be needed to end the GOP’s filibuster instead of the previous sixty votes. “It’s a sad day in the history of the Senate,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. following the changes — according to Fox News. Obama, on the other hand, has been highly supportive of the change, and called the filibuster of his nominees an “unprecedented pattern of obstruction,” and emphasized that, “For the sake of future generations, we can’t let it become normal.”
According to USA Today, he admitted that both parties can at times be stubborn, and that, “Neither party has been blameless for these tactics.” Still, he feels “a deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything — no matter what the merits, just to re-fight the results of an election — is not normal.”
The president cited some impressive data to back up his claim that Republican filibustering had gone beyond the norm — explaining that in six decades prior to his election only twenty individuals nominated for executive jobs dealt with filibusters.
In the time since Obama was elected, “nearly [thirty] nominees have been treated this way,” said the president, showing a large rise in opposition during his time in Washington. “This isn’t obstruction on substance, on qualifications. It’s just to gum up the works,” he said, pointing out that his choices have had to wait “nearly two-and-a-half times longer” than George W. Bush’s did in the last presidency.