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Senate Dems push Obama nominees, GOP bides time

December 8, 2013 • Business


FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, Federal Reserve Board Chair nominee Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on her nomination. Democrats begin a drive this week to muscle a half dozen of President Barrack Obama’s Republican-opposed nominees through the Senate after clamping shackles on traditional minority party rights in last month’s power play against the GOP. Republicans, however, still have some tools for grinding the Senate’s work to an excruciatingly slow crawl. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fresh from shackling the traditional blocking ability of the Senate’s minority party, Democrats are ready to muscle through President Barack Obama’s nominees for pivotal judgeships and other top jobs.

Despite last month’s Democratic power play, Senate Republicans retain the power to slow, though not derail, Obama’s appointments.

Left unchanged were other rules that the out-of-power party could use to grind the chamber’s work to an excruciating crawl. That ranges from requiring clerks to read voluminous bills and amendments to forcing repeated procedural votes.

“There are so many ways of slowing things down in the Senate,” said Robert Dove, the Senate’s former long-time parliamentarian.

Monday starts a two-week, year-end Senate session in which Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., hopes to finish work on a modest budget deal, a defense bill and other lingering items.

It will also be the first test of how Republicans respond to the Democratic changes.

Monday’s meeting marks the chamber’s first since irritable lawmakers left town Nov. 21 for Login to read more

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