Apr 4, 2017

How the nuclear option works, in 9 steps

In USA Today's banner story, "Nine steps to pave the 'nuclear path," Erin Kelly parses the mechanics of the high drama that's expected in the Senate late this week — "a complicated process that only a parliamentarian could love":

  • What's coming: Republicans plan to invoke the "nuclear option" to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court over the filibuster of Democrats — blowing up "both long-standing rules and bipartisanship in a chamber that has traditionally valued both."
  • The roadmap: The Congressional Research Service bases its steps on Dec. 6, 2013, action by former Majority Leader Harry Reid, "who used the nuclear option ... to change Senate rules so that lower court judges and Cabinet nominees could be confirmed by a simple majority, scuttling a Republican filibuster."
  • The steps before finally moving to an up-or-down vote: 1. Reconsider ... 2. Point of Order ... 3. Ruling of the chair ... 4. Appeal the ruling ... 5. Vote to overrule... 6. Democratic point of order ... 7. Ruling of the chair II ... 8. Vote to overrule II ... 9. Re-vote cloture (to end filibuster).
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