Senate Democrats employed the so-called “nuclear option,” changing Senate rules so as to eliminate the possibility of a filibuster for presidential appointments (not including Supreme Court justices–nor does it apply to regular legislation, which may still be filibustered). The threat of a filibuster–that is, unlimited debate, unless a supermajority shuts it down–has meant that Senators had to cobble together 60 votes to pass a bill or confirm a nominee.
Yes, the filibuster slowed things down, but, as (liberal) Dana Milbank points out, it also required the forging of bipartisan support. For that reason, he says, today’s Senate has actually accomplished much more than the polarized House of Representatives has. “Now the Senate will be just as dysfunctional.” See Mr. Milbank’s case for the filibuster after the jump. [Read more...]