How many Senate Democrats voted against the nuclear option?

user11168 02/09/2017. 2 answers, 177 views
united-states senate senate-rules

Did any Senate Democrats vote against this? And if so did they supply a reason?

2 Answers


Brythan 02/09/2017.

According to the vote record, there were three Democrats who voted against the nuclear option:

  • Carl Levin of Michigan
  • Joe Manchin III of West Virginia
  • Mark Pryor of Arkansas

The rest of the Democrats and both independents voted for it. All the Republicans voted against it.

Chuck Schumer of New York may have argued against it, but he voted for it.

Levin gave a speech after voting against it. He specifically pointed out that once used, the nuclear option would eventually effectively change the rules so that they could be changed by a simple majority. He also cited specific instances when Democrats had used the filibuster to block Republican legislation that they found offensive.

I couldn't find anything from Manchin or Pryor from 2013. Manchin has talked more recently about it:

Well, I really don’t — I’ve been opposed to the nuclear option. I thought Harry Reid was absolutely dead wrong when he did it. And I voted against that. My dear beloved senator, prior to my coming here, was Robert C. Byrd. He’d be rolling over in his grave knowing what we have done and what we continue to do and how we really act out. So with that being said, I think it should be a bipartisan vote. I think it should be 60 votes for our Supreme Court. I think at the highest court of the land it should be what we are coming together as Americans and not to continue to divide us.

So he believes that the filibuster encourages bipartisan cooperation. He also feels that Robert Byrd would have opposed it. Byrd was a long time Democratic Senator from West Virginia.

Note that Levin has retired and Pryor lost his reelection bid. Manchin is the only Democratic Senator who voted against the rule change who remains in office.


David Grinberg 02/09/2017.

The wikipedia page covers this:

On November 21, 2013, the Senate voted 52–48, with all Republicans and 3 Democrats voting against, to interpret the words “three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn” to mean a simple majority,

2 comments
user11168 02/09/2017
Do you have anything on their rationale for the 3 Senators' vote?
1 Robert Harvey 02/09/2017
@Konstantine: See the Schumer link I posted above. "I argued against it at the time. I said both for Supreme Court and in Cabinet should be 60 because on such important positions there should be some degree of bipartisanship."

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