I heard about this vote a while back and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. You hear about this all the time. The majority party (regardless of whether they are Democrat or Republican) wants to change filibuster rules.
This year the number of bills passed has been the lowest since Congress was formed. NBC calls it “Do-Nothing” Congress. USA Today describes the 2011-12 period as the “least productive year on record” and 2013 as being on track as the “least productive single year in modern history.”
The question is then, do we need filibuster reform? The answer is yes. To what extent? This is heavily contested.
The Senate approved the most fundamental alteration of its rules by ending the minority’s party ability to filibuster most presidential nominees in response to the partisan gridlock that has plagued Congress. (NY Times article).
Under the change, the Senate will be able to cut off debate on executive and judicial branch nominees with a simple majority rather than rounding up a supermajority of 60 votes. This does not apply to all nominees, such as Supreme Court nominees.