Cripes, Harry – you finally did it!
Senate Democrats eased the way for swift approval of President Barack Obama’s current and future nominees on Thursday, voting unilaterally to overturn decades of Senate precedent and undermine Republicans’ ability to block final votes.
The 52-48 vote to undercut filibuster rules on presidential appointees capped more than a decade of struggle in which presidents from both parties complained about delays in confirming appointees, particularly to federal courts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who spearheaded the movement, accused Republicans of “unbelievable, unprecedented obstruction” of Obama’s selections to fill court vacancies and other offices.
“It’s time to change the Senate, before this institution becomes obsolete,” he said.
His Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accused Democrats of exercising democracy, saying blah, blah, blah!
At issue was a rule that can require a 60-vote majority to assure a yes-or-no vote on presidential nominees to the courts or to cabinet departments or other agencies.
Under a parliamentary maneuver scripted in advance, Democrats led by Reid sought to change proceedings so that only a simple majority was required to clear the way for a final vote.
Supreme Court nominations would be exempted from the change and subject to a traditional filibuster…Nevertheless, some congressional watchers predict it’s the opening volley in the movement to kill the filibuster altogether…
Overdue by decades.
This event will serve to illustrate which organizations and individuals have a heartfelt commitment to rule by democracy. I sincerely hope Americans take note of who wastes time the next few days on television and in the press whining about the partial end of a lousy tradition.