Why Harry Reid Needed to Invoke the 'Nuclear Option'

Citing some surprising statistics, Juliet Lapidos explains why Harry Reid ultimately invoked the ‘nuclear option’:

  • Lapidos measures the increase in frequency of filibusters by comparing the number of cloture motions filed to break a filibuster: 68 motions during the 109th Congress, 139 motions in the 110th Congress, 111 motions in the 111th Congress and 115 motions in the 112th Congresss.
  • 3 in 10 of all cloture motions filed in the history of the Senate were filed under Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell’s tenure.
  • Republicans have filibustered a record number of executive branch nominees: 27 under President Obama.
  • For the first time ever, Republicans filibustered a nominee for Secretary of Defense.
  • The average waiting time for non-controversial judicial nominees has increased from 70 days during the Reagan administration, to almost 7 months for Obama.
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Reactions to Invoking the Nuclear Option

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