Kaboom! Republicans dared Harry Reid to do it, and he just did, finally. The Senate has voted to change the filibuster rules, 52-48. Democrats Carl Levin, Joe Manchin, Mark Pryor voted against changing the rule.
The new rule that will allow just a simple majority vote for all nominees except for the Supreme Court. For the remainder of this Congress, President Obama's nominees will only need 51 votes to be appointed. What that means immediately is that, while the Republicans continue to play games to delay action on the Defense Authorization, the nominations of Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Roberts Wilkins to the D.C. Circuit can move forward. So can the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt to the federal housing agency. In other words, the Senate can start functioning again. At least on nominations.
This will likely just further enrage Republicans, making them even more obnoxious and obstructionist. So next stop, ending the filibuster on legislation. That will probably happen at the beginning of the next Congress, January, 2015.