Accusing the Republican Party of being a threat to the national and economic security of the United States of America, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), proposed today to end the 60-vote "cloture" rule governing stopping filibusters.
Reid said: "The rule change will make cloture a simple majority."
That means votes to stop Senate filibusters, or debating that goes on endlessly in an effort to prevent a vote on a proposed law or nomination, will only require a simple majority, which Democrats would normally be able to achieve.
This would essentially insure that President Obama would be able to get cleared through the Senate nominating process any judicial appointment he desired. The rule change will not apply to Supreme Court nominees. But it would allow the President considerably more freedom to make appointments to other federal courts.
Senator Reid pointed out that, in defiance to an earlier agreement with Republicans, where they promised only to use the filibuster in "emergencies" to block Obama judicial nominees, instead the Republicans had continued a campaign against the President that, in Reid's words, "turned advise and consent into deny and obstruct."
“Republicans have continued their record of obstruction as if no agreement had been reached.”And Reid plainly accused the Republicans of trying to thwart the Executive branch power and responsibility of President Obama:
“[Republicans] they don’t want President Obama to appoint any judges”In response to Reid's rules proposal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), claimed that the rules change in the Senate was an unjustified power grab by the Democratic majority, and that it was an attempt to change the subject from the disastrous Obamacare rollout.
McConnell gave an example he said he had heard of where some man got a letter from the federal government claiming that the man's dog had been enrolled in Obamacare.
McConnell said he would want to change the subject too:
"If I had to defend dogs getting insurance, while millions of Americans are losing theirs"And McConnell said the two issues, changing the Senate rules to allow Obama's judicial nominees to be approved, and Obamacare, were the "same issue", which McConnell said were examples of Democrats willingness to "to do or say just about anything to get its way."
UPDATE—12:34pm EST—Senate Vote 52-48 to change rules of the Senate for a simple majority. Nuke dropped.