Numerous media sources have reported that Senate Democrats “went nuclear” today and, by a vote of 52-48, voted to change Senate filibuster rules to only require 51 (a simple majority) rather than 60 votes for most Presidential nominees to proceed to a full Senate vote. 

Following Richard Cordray’s confirmation by the Senate as CFPB Director this past July, many observers questioned why Senate Republicans “caved.”  The Senate’s action today offers a likely explanation.  In July, Senator Harry Reid had threated to “go nuclear” to ensure Mr. Cordray’s confirmation.  It now seems fair to assume that Senate Republicans who voted to confirm
Mr. Cordray had good reason at that time to believe Senator Reid would have made good on his threat had Republicans continued to block the nomination.