Dems block GOP challenge of rule change

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellReid says Dems may curb the filibuster White House sets up Puerto Rico oversight McConnell: Changes coming to ObamaCare next year MORE (R-Ky.) tried to challenge a Senate rule change that allows the majority to end debate on a nominee with a simple majority.

Sens. Carl LevinCarl LevinWill there be a 50-50 Senate next year? Senate continues to disrespect Constitution, Obama and Supreme Court by not voting on Garland As other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind MORE (D-Mich.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHouse oversight asks for private meeting with EpiPen maker EpiPen maker defends price hike: ‘I’m running a business’ Senator responds to criticism of daughter's EpiPen company MORE (D-W.Va.) voted with Republicans against the rule of the chair on Tuesday.

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Last month, Senate Democrats unilaterally changed the rules. The rule change means only 51 votes are needed to end a filibuster on nominations below the level of the Supreme Court.

The move outraged Republicans, who said Democrats had severely undermined minority rights in the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid says Dems may curb the filibuster Obama begins climate victory lap at Lake Tahoe White House sets up Puerto Rico oversight MORE (D-Nev.) triggered the nuclear option to make the change. It allows the Senate’s rules to be changed by a majority vote.

The Senate is voting to end debate on the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to be the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt could be confirmed as earlier as Tuesday evening.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit Court, making her the first nominee of President Obama’s to clear the Senate since the filibuster rule change.