Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this afternoon invoked the “nuclear option” ending the practice of allowing filibusters on most presidential nominees, except for those nominated for the Supreme Court.
Opposition to Reid was bipartisan. The new rule was passed 52 to 48, with three Democrats — Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) — joining all 45 Republicans in opposing the measure.
Republicans had threatened to change the rule when Democrats were busy blocking George W. Bush’s nominees, but backed off amid howls of protests from Democrats.
Typically, President Obama argued the move was justified because Republicans were not just opposing nominees, but subverting the will of the Founders and doing it all for politics and instead of out of principle.
“Today’ pattern of obstruction isn’t normal,” Obama said, accusing Republicans of moving to “obstruct everything” in order to “refight the election.”
Obama said Republicans were opposing his nominees “just to gum up the works.”
Republicans warned the move would come back to bite Democrats sooner than they realize.
“The solution to this problem is at the ballot box,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We look forward to having a great election in 2014.”