The Senate is about to “go nuclear.” The nuclear option is a procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes. The issue is immediately put to the full Senate, which decides by majority vote.


Republicans and Democrats are on a collision course over Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Committee narrowly backed the 49-year-old appellate court judge on Monday, but Democrats secured the 41 votes to try to block the choice on a filibuster.

Short of the 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to press ahead, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is likely to change the parliamentary rules for Supreme Court nominees, lowering the threshold to a simple majority. Such action has been called “the nuclear option” because of its probable impact on Senate traditions of bipartisanship.


Under that option, nominations could be approved with a simple majority in the 100-member Senate. Now, it takes 60 votes to clear parliamentary hurdles and set up an up-or-down vote on the nominee. More