The Democrats have made a change to Senate rules: now, it is no longer possible to filibuster confirmation of Presidential appointees. The Associated Press article says:
Sweeping aside a century of precedent, Democrats took a chunk out of the Senate’s hallowed filibuster tradition on Thursday and cleared the way for speedy confirmation of controversial appointments made by President Barack Obama and chief executives in the future.
That phrasing strikes me as odd, especially the use of the word “hallowed”. Seems slanted against the Democrats. Senator Reid seems to me to have been fairly reluctant to do this, and only finally did after having his hand more or less forced by the Republicans.
That said, I don’t like the decision. I understand why they did it, and from a short-term view, it makes sense. But it is true that they may come to regret it in the future, as the Republicans are saying. (Unless, I guess, the Democrats change it back during the lame-duck session if they are voted out.)
Still, the Republicans are acting like the Democrats just did this for no reason, and not because the Republicans have been filibustering appointments for no reason. Which, technically, they are allowed to do, but they are violating the spirit, if not the word, of the Senate rules.
So, it’s a real dilemma. An insoluble one, perhaps. The Republicans’ casual use of the filibuster has caused a breakdown in the functioning of government. And the only thing the Democrats could think of to fix it was to break the functioning of government in a different way. It is a bad trend. It bespeaks a downward spiral in how the Senate works.