Senate Democrats Invoke “Nuclear Option” to Restrict Republican Filibusters of Nominees

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid successfully led an effort to change long-standing Senate rules to greatly restrict minority party use of the filibuster to prevent or delay votes on most federal nominees. Senate rules previously required 60 Senators to agree before the chamber could move forward on most legislation or nominations.  Under the change, only a simple majority of 51 votes will be required to advance the Obama Administration’s picks to key federal posts.

This move will clear the way for the confirmation of several controversial nominees to the influential US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to create a Democratic majority. In January of 2013, the Court notably invalidated President Obama's unconfirmed “recess” appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).