The measure, known as the “nuclear option”, curbs the power of the upper chamber’s minority party to use a blocking tactic known as a filibuster. Mr Obama cited Republicans’ “unprecedented pattern of obstruction”. Republicans vowed they would use the new rule against Democrats if they won back the Senate in the next election.
Correspondents said Thursday’s motion, which passed 52-48, would make American politics even more acrimonious. At the White House on Thursday, Mr Obama conceded that neither party had been blameless in filibusters.But he said it was unacceptable that nearly 30 of his nominees had been blocked from confirmation since he took office. The US leader called it an “unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress” to block qualified candidates.
“A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the results of an election, is not normal,” he said. Under the rule change, the party in control of the upper chamber of the US Congress now requires just 51 votes, instead of 60, to overcome a filibuster of White House judicial or executive nominations. Democrats currently have 55 seats in the Senate; Republicans 45. The motion does not affect Supreme Court nominations or regular legislation. -Bbc