Dems block GOP challenge of rule change
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMnuchin: Tax reform shouldn't add to the deficit Trump taps NY Jets owner to be UK Ambassador Trump applauds congressional allies as he kicks off inaugural festivities 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 LevinObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers 'Nuclear option' for Supreme Court nominees will damage Senate McCain's Supreme Court strategy leads to nuclear Senate MORE (D-Mich.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Manning commutation sparks Democratic criticism Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy 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 ReidThe DC bubble is strangling the DNC Dems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe Ryan says Trump, GOP 'in complete sync' on ObamaCare 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.