Reid, Dems Deploy 'Nuclear Option' on Senate Filibusters

The move changes the 60-vote requirement to 51.

Reid, Dems Deploy 'Nuclear Option' on Senate Filibusters

The rules of the filibuster as we know it are changed in the U.S. Senate. Democrats went with the so-called "nuclear option" with a 52-48 vote Thursday.

"What we're talking about here, what the nuclear option is, is to prevent the minority effectively from waging a filibuster that Democrats, or in this case, the majority can't overcome." (Via CNN)



A New York Times article calls it the most fundamental shift in Senate function we've seen in more than a generation. Writer Jeremy W. Peters described the vote as one "members of both parties had threatened for the better part of a decade, but had always stopped short of carrying out."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led the charge — which changes the number of votes required to advance a nomination or appointment from 60 to 51— thus lessening the power of the filibuster. (Via Flickr / medilldc

"It's time to change. It's time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete." (Via C-SPAN)

"But Harry Reid was able to get the majority that he needed here from his Democratic base. Republicans are saying this is a Democratic attempt to distract from the problems related to the president's health care law, that this is unprecedented." (Via MSNBC)

Fox News calls it a risky move for Democrats — and a 180 for Reid.

In a statement after the vote President Obama applauded the Senate's move.

Some Democrats did vote against it, but The Washington Post notes it went "mostly along party lines, [reversing] nearly 225 years of precedent and dramatically [altering] the landscape for both Democratic and Republican presidents."


"It could hurt Democrats next time they become the minority. In fact, when they were the minority, he complained that the nuclear option would be a very bad idea."

That's technically true — in 2005, Reid opposed a similar attempt by Republicans. Thursday's motion was spurred when Reid asked for reconsideration of a D.C. district judicial nominee who'd recently been blocked by a Republican filibuster.