Right now, 24 hours plus after the Senate deal that averted a nuclear rule change on executive branch nominations by a Republican surrender on several current nominees...right now, there's a filibuster going on over an executive branch nominee.
It's...oh, it's whoever is going to head the Export-Import bank.
A filibuster? Yup. There was a cloture vote this morning; forcing a cloture vote is already a form of filibuster. And then Republicans are insisting, as they did yesterday with Richard Cordray, to use at least a decent-sized chunk of post-cloture time. And certainly not because they want to debate what's-his-name (sorry...okay, fine, it's Fred Hochberg). I haven't been checking C-SPAN2 carefully, but the times that I have tuned in they're either waiting for someone to speak or talking about something else. Without any filibuster at all, Harry Reid could call up the nomination, allow anyone who wanted to speak to do so, and then move ahead with a final confirmation vote; it would probably take one or two hours at most, and maybe a lot less if no record vote was called for.
What's different, post-deal, is that Republicans have apparently agreed that these filibusters will be limited -- that they will avoid defeating cloture on executive branch nominations, and thus allow Democrats to confirm those nominees as long as they have a simple majority. They can still filibuster, however, and it's not as if it's meaningless; it does, in fact, use up Senate floor time that could be used for something else, and it's not unusual for Senate floor time to be valuable.
All of this does put Republicans in a bit of a pickle, at least assuming that mainstream conservatives (and even the two or three moderates) want to be seen as conservative. The problem is that Republicans have to supply six votes (for now, with the Senate 54-46; it'll probably go back to five votes after the New Jersey special election this fall) every time other Republicans force a cloture vote. That means either a handful of Republicans have to always vote for cloture (and thus get tagged as RINOs) or they have to rotate (risking that a whole bunch of them will not be "real" conservatives.
That's not just hypothetical. Marco Rubio is already putting pressure on to vote against cloture on Secretary of Labor nominee Thomas Perez (via Beutler).
The best solution to this? Regular readers have heard it more than once; the best solution is to change the rules to formalize the agreement: change from 60 vote cloture on executive branch nominations to simple majority cloture.
Is the pain of being on record with that vote worth it for the 15 or so Republicans who would be needed? I have no idea. It certainly is a vote they could be attacked for -- they would be permanently giving away the ability of the minority Republicans to defeat Obama executive branch picks. On the other hand, it's a harder vote to explain, perhaps, than a series of specific votes for cloture on those same selections.
Note that flipping to simple majority cloture would still preserve the limited filibusters that Republicans are engaging in now; it would also presumably safeguard individual holds, which would be endangered if the agreement breaks down and Democrats eventually go nuclear and knock out extended debate altogether.
Basically, I don't expect it to happen. But I think it should. And without it, it's hard to know how stable the current agreement really is.