WASHINGTON – A key Republican senator has dropped his objection to
"I see no further reason to block Gina McCarthy's nomination, and I'll support moving to an up-or-down vote on her nomination," Vitter said in a statement.
Republicans have also blocked
The number of executive appointments on hold in the Senate has caused Majority Leader
Republicans have argued that there is no need to change the rules. They point to the pace of judicial confirmations to make the case that Democrats have overstated the degree of obstruction they face. On Monday, the Senate confirmed one of Obama's nominations to a federal court of appeals and on Tuesday approved a district court nomination. Approving McCarthy's nomination could give that argument greater strength.
Reid said Tuesday he would convene a meeting of Senate Democrats on Thursday to gauge support for pressing ahead with rule changes. Changing the rules would require 50 votes.
The Senate agreed in January to a more limited rules change to speed up the confirmation of nominees for district courts and sub-Cabinet positions and to enforce existing rules that would make it more difficult to block legislation.
Many Democrats say further changes are necessary, arguing that Republicans have failed to follow through on a commitment to move nominations in a timely manner. The slowdowns this year have included the first-ever filibuster of a Defense secretary nominee,
But some senior Democrats have opposed the changes that have been advocated by newer Senate Democrats as well as the party’s allies in the labor movement. Republican leader Sen.
McCarthy is an assistant administrator at the EPA, and previously worked in the administrations of Republican governors in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She would oversee the effort Obama announced in a recent speech on climate change to develop regulations designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
Another Republican, Sen.