UPDATE: Harry Reid dropped the bomb. Maybe you heard about filibustering in the Senate and the threat of a “nuclear option,” and maybe you’re still a little bit confused about what it all means. Sit back and let the cast of Mean Girls walk you through the finer points.
2. Republicans hated the new agency, considering it a stifling new bureacracy, and wanted it dead. They tried to stop it from getting off the ground, even going so far as to try and prevent Obama from appointing someone to run the new agency.
4. But this wasn’t the kind of filibuster where someone talks for hours on end, it was a filibuster taking advantage of a pre-vote procedure that requires a supermajority to simply allow a vote. Basically, everyone sits around and nothing happens.
8. Moderates in both parties got really nervous, as the nuclear option would set a dangerous precedent that would essentially eliminate any power the minority party might have. Normally at odds, many Democrats and Republicans teamed up and urged compromise.
9. But the mere threat of the nuclear option was powerful enough to get Republicans to budge on allowing up-or-down votes for some of Obama’s nominees, including the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that triggered this whole fight.
10. This probably won’t be the last time the threat of the nuclear option rears its head, though. Republicans have used it when they were in power, and Democrats may use it yet again if the filibuster remains a popular tactic.
11. UPDATE: Frustrated by ongoing efforts to block President Obama’s nominees, Senate Democrats enacted the nuclear option on some filibusters. So now, when Republicans are prevented from stopping certain appointments, Harry Reid will be all like: