After some parliamentary maneuvering by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate on Wednesday voted to shorten Democrats’ time obstructing President Donald Trump’s nominees on the floor, drastically cutting debate time in order to speed up the nomination process.
In the end, senators voted 51-48 in order to speed up Trump nominees confirmation process, which have continued to be stalled by Democrats.
Republican Senators Mike Lee and Susan Collins voted against the rules change.
The nuclear option will cut Democrats’ debate time from 30 hours to two hours, making the confirmation process for Trump’s nominees faster.
Republicans will only need 51 votes to confirm a Trump nominee after the change.
For Republicans, it was a way to deal with an opposition party that is more interested in “resistance” than governance.
McConnell called the Democrat’s actions “systematic obstruction” on the Senate floor Tuesday, saying it is “not targeted, thoughtful opposition to a few marquee nominations or rare circumstances.”
Instead, he said, it is “a grinding, across-the-board effort to delay and obstruct the people this president puts up. Even if they have unquestionable qualifications. Even if the job is relatively low-profile.”
Other Republicans like Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Democrats will oppose any nominee Trump puts forward, regardless of who it is.
“Over the past two years, some in this body have decided that they will oppose any nominee suggested by President Trump,” Grassley said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
“There isn’t a senator in this room who serves their state’s interest when qualified, noncontroversial nominees are prevented from being confirmed.
“However, some members continue to do just that by slow-walking the president’s nominees for partisan purposes.”
Senate Democrats, such as Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, have pushed back against the rules change.
It is “an erosion of the Senate’s responsibility, in fact our sworn constitutional duty to advise and consent,” Leahy said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Trump has previously called out Democrats for “slow-walking” his executive nominees.
In a February Twitter post, he wrote that “Democrats in the Senate are still slow-walking hundreds of highly qualified people wanting to come into government.”
“Never been such an abuse in our country’s history,” he wrote.
Democrats in the Senate are still slow walking hundreds of highly qualified people wanting to come into government. Never been such an abuse in our country’s history. Mitch should not let Senate go home until all are approved. We need our Ambassadors and all others NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
The president broke a record for the number of appeals court judges confirmed during the first half of a presidency.
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