Frank Lautenberg

Senate Republicans block Obama nominees

Senate Republicans block Obama nominees

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans' rejection Thursday of two key nominations by President Obama revived a battle over filibuster rules and opened a new partisan front just as congressional leaders and the White House are searching for a budget compromise to avert another government shutdown.

Democrats in the Senate immediately renewed a threat to use their majority to impose the so-called nuclear option, making a historic change to long-standing Senate rules that would prevent a minority party — currently Republicans — from blocking such nominations through filibuster.

The latest clash erupted when Republicans blocked two procedural votes on the confirmations of Rep. Melvin Watt...

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