Among historians, the knee-jerk reaction to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's successful push on Thursday to execute the "nuclear option" to clear the path for all executive and most judicial nominees went like this: it's the result of longstanding frustration with legislative gridlock.
The change, which alters the rules to require only a simple majority to proceed on judicial and executive branch nominees save those for the Supreme Court, historians say, is a big marker in the history of the Senate.
"We've only had a few times when the filibuster has been reformed. When they create the cloture rule in 1917. And the other big reform is in 1975 when they lowered the number needed to end a filibuster," Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University told TPM on Thursday. "Since then, the use of the filibuster got worse, not better."
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