Congress Goes Nuclear


Unless you have just reemerged from underneath a rock for the past month you have at least heard whispers of the senate passing something called the “Nuclear Option”.

This does not mean war with North Korea and Iran or fighting super mutants in an atomic wasteland, but this involves a political move in the senate. Sometimes more appropriately called “the filibuster bomb” it is a bill that stops the minority members of the Senate from being able to block presidential nominations using a filibuster technique.

The President must always appoint various positions in the government and the opposing party used to be able to block these even if they had a minority. But not anymore.

This is a dangerous political move by the Democrats. They are gambling heavily that they will not lose the Senate and the Presidency in 2016. A loss in ’16 and in the future could have greater effects than before.

For example, if the Republicans control both the Senate and the Presidency and the Supreme Court opens up the Republicans could pack the Supreme Court with pro-gun judges, The Democrats would not be able to block future legislation and lose years of gun control regulation.

This gamble is one the Democrats will have to live with for the foreseeable future. Although dangerous the “Nuclear Option” has benefits. The power to filibuster a nomination has been used 168 times in the Senate. More than any other, President Obama has had this happen to him. The Democrats hope to push new nominations and bills through over the next three years.

This risk may benefit them now, but they hope they will retain the positions and keep the power. The American political system has become incredibly polarized and this is another step into deeper polarization. Hopefully this fosters more continuity and help between the two parties.