Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has invoked the “nuclear option” by severely limiting the power of the filibuster — the main way that the minority party in the Senate can oppose nominations. Now instead of the 60 votes that were previously needed, it will only take 51 votes to break a filibuster. Reid justified this by claiming that it was needed for dealing with the “unprecedented pattern of obstruction” of the Republicans.
Possibly Reid’s reasoning covers more than the immediate. With the unpopularity of Obama Care increasing daily, the Senate stands to lose their majority in the 2014 mid-term elections. This obvious power grab by Reid may aid his party in the near future. However, it will certainly come back to bite him and his fellow Democrats later on.
If Reid can take the nuclear option now, the minority party will quickly adapt a “take no prisoners” attitude in future legislation by imposing their own nuclear option later on.