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.
WHAT IS THE NUCLEAR OPTION?
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