Clouding the G-7 gathering, which represents the world's major industrial economies, are the tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing.Politicsread more
Hours after President Trump said Sunday he had "second thoughts" about escalating the trade war with China, the White House sought to explain his remark because it was...Politicsread more
President Donald Trump said that he would have a major trade deal with U.K. after it leaves the European Union.Politicsread more
President Donald Trump said Sunday he was not happy after North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles over the weekend.Politicsread more
The Goldman Sachs technology M&A team, led by Sam Britton, has cashed in on its software focus and decades of experience to dominate 2019's biggest deals.Technologyread more
Carl Medlock used to work at Tesla. Now he's one of the few people in the U.S. that can fix the company's original Roadster electric vehicles.Technologyread more
American small and medium-size companies that rely on China are scrambling to adjust their business plans in response to the escalating trade war.Traderead more
Here are the products that stand to be the most affected by China's new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.Marketsread more
The summit comes amid fears over a global economic slowdown, and U.S. tensions over trade allies, Iran and Russia.Politicsread more
The world's second biggest economy is past a point where it cannot ignore its enormous debt anymore, according to an analyst.China Economyread more
Trump does have some powerful tools that would not require approval from U.S. Congress.Politicsread more
They went nuclear.
Facing significant Democratic opposition, Republicans on Thursday enacted the "nuclear option" to clear the way to confirm Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court. That confirmation vote is expected on Friday.
Here we take a look at the nuclear option — what it is, how it works, its history and where the name comes from.
More from NBC News:
Republicans use 'nuclear option' to clear the way for Gorsuch confirmation
Chuck Todd: It's 'surprising' Republicans are 'walking away' from health care after 17 days
McCain: Anyone labeling nuclear option beneficial is a 'stupid idiot'
The "nuclear option" is a last-resort, break-in-case-of-emergency way for the majority party in the Senate to overcome obstruction by the minority.
All it actually involves is changing the rules of the Senate so that a nominee like Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes. Under the previous rules, 60 votes were needed to foil any attempt by the minority party to block a vote by use of the filibuster.
While senators are no longer required to give actual speeches to mount a filibuster, it has remained powerful tool that allows the minority to gum up action in the Senate until the majority can find 60 votes to break a logjam.
The change to a simple majority vote may not sound very dramatic, but in a place like the Senate, which operates on tradition and bipartisan comity, it's a big deal befitting its apocalyptic name.
Former GOP Senate Majority leader Trent Lott coined the term because both parties saw it as an unthinkable final recourse, just like nuclear war. During a standoff over George W. Bush nominees in 2003, Republicans discussed invoking the parliamentary move by using the codeword "The Hulk" since it, like the superhero alter ego, cannot be controlled once it is unleashed.
Others, who want to give it a positive spin, call changing the rules "The Constitutional Option."
Senators have threatened to go nuclear for decades. In 1957, then-Vice President Richard Nixon wrote an advisory opinion that helped lay the groundwork for the procedural move.
But no one pushed the proverbial button until 2013, when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option to lower the 60-vote threshold to 51 for approval of Executive Branch appointees (such as Cabinet secretaries) and federal judges below the Supreme Court (such as for U.S. Courts of Appeal).
Reid justified the move by citing unprecedented obstruction from Senate Republicans, but members of both parties lamented the precedent it set.
Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who took over for Reid as leader of Senate Democrats, said he regrets going nuclear four years ago. Of course, Schumer could just be saying that now that he's in the minority, since there are plenty of clips of Reid and McConnell opposing the nuclear option before they supported it.
Going nuclear means that future presidents of either party will have a much easier time getting their Supreme Court nominees confirmed, which could change whom they decide to appoint.
Instead of choosing a more moderate judge who could win support from both parties, they could pick a more ideological jurist capable of winning only on a party-line vote, since the threshold will move from 60 to 51 votes.
James Madison wrote in the federalist papers that the Senate was "the great anchor of the Government," whose slower processes and higher thresholds for action would guard against the "fickleness and passion" of public opinion.
That anchor just got a lot lighter.