Thursday, November 21, 2013
An option that the Senate took today which had the support of President Obama is the so called 'nuclear option'. The bill was passed today in the Senate with a vote of 52-48, which ended the ability of minority Republicans to continue using filibusters to block some of President Barack Obama's judicial and executive nominations. Of course the Republicans strongly objected to the measure. As soon as the law took effect, the Democrats in the Senate acted by ending a filibuster against one of Obama's nominees for a federal appeals court. The President initiated the move because the Congress has been using the filibuster on just about everything President Obama wants passed, in an attempt to show that he is not effective enough to pass the laws that he wants passed.
The President blames the Republicans for what he calls "an unprecedented matter of obstruction in Congress". The President in a speech sited that the Republicans deliberately try to obstruct everything, regardless of merits just because they do not like the outcome of the last Presidential election.
The "nuclear option" merely changes Senate rules which enables executive and judicial nominees to be confirmed with just 51 votes instead of 60.
You may ask why the President has taken such a bold move without the support of the Republicans. So far the Republicans in the Senate only confirmed a single nominee to the Court of Appeals in D.C. The
Republicans also have blocked at least three appointees but also held up an endless number of other nominations to other important posts. Because of the lack of bipartisanship, and the Republicans functioning as anti-Obama hard-noses, and until they gain the Senate majority, they will never be able to change that. But you can bet if the Republicans ever gain the majority in the U.S. Senate, they will do the same to the minority Democrats.
Is what the Senate done considered a good thing? In theory, it is a very good thing, as the filibuster rule is way overpowering. A simple majority vote on the issues in the Senate is all that should be needed to pass bills. But the downturn here is that the nominations must also go to the Republican controlled House, and there they most likely will fail, as the majority of Republicans most always will defeat any Obama bill. Still, when this happens, the heat will be turned up on the House, and the microscope of criticism will continue to shine on this branch of Congress, which is never a good thing.