The Senate has just passed a motion changing the rule on cloture for Supreme Court nominees, requiring only a simple majority to end debate rather than 60 votes. This rule change is often referred to as the “nuclear option.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to invoke the nuclear option after 44 Senate Democrats voted “no” on cloture this morning, blocking an up-or-down confirmation vote on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The vote was 52-48 in favor of changing the Senate rule.
The Senate will now vote again to invoke cloture, ending debate on the nomination, this time with the rule change in effect. Only a simple majority is needed to end debate.