Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led an effort today by Senate Republicans to use a controversial tactic called the “nuclear option” to make confirming low-level Trump nominees easier.


The Nuclear Option

The nuclear option changes the rules to allow a simple 51-vote majority to pass rather than the standard 60-vote requirement.

Perhaps ironically, an earlier resolution by Republicans to reduce debate time on nominees only received 51 of the 60 votes required to pass. Those votes were down party lines.

McConnell claims that the Democrats have used “systematic obstruction” to block nominations. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy called McConnell’s resolution “short-sighted” and well as a “partisan power grab.”

This is the sixth time in three years that a majority party has used the nuclear option to push minority opposition out of the way. Democrats used it in 2013 to confirm some of President Obama’s nominations. Republicans used it as recently as last year to clear Supreme Court nominations.