The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 52-48 on Nov. 21 to cut the number of votes needed to confirm presidential nominees to agencies and judgeships to 51 from 60; the vote alters a long-standing rule.

Senate Democrats said the change will ease the gridlock that has stalled nominees. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) says, if the GOP gains the Senate majority in the future, the move may backfire on Democrats.