At the previous pace of the Senate confirmation process, President Donald Trump could've expected to have his complete Cabinet in place by sometime in late summer.
Wednesday, Senate Republicans, tiring of their Democratic colleagues stalling out the process, changed the rules to speed up those confirmations. Previously, at least one Democrat had to be present for a confirmation vote out of committee to take place—now that is no longer necessary.
While it is not quite the "nuclear option" that has been threatened if Democrats continue to stall the nomination of 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose appointment to the Supreme Court was announced Tuesday night, it's a step in that direction. With institutionalism crumbling by the hour as partisan rancor between Republicans and Democrats rises, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may have no choice but to eliminate the 60-vote cloture requirement for high court appointments, as well.
Making the rounds on the morning talk shows Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pledged that Democrats would not be allowed to stall out Gorsuch's nomination. President Donald Trump has also advocated for the use of the nuclear option if Democrats continue to hinder efforts to advance his agenda.
The first beneficiary of the new rule change was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose confirmation swiftly worked its way out of the Senate late Wednesday afternoon. Other confirmation votes are expected to soon take place with the procedural roadblocks employed by Democrats now out of the way.
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