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Democrats ditch U.S. Senate rule blamed for Washington gridlock

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 01:36

Nov. 21 - Senate Democrats stripped Republicans of their ability to block President Barack Obama's judicial and executive nominees. Gavino Garay reports.

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A change of rules on Capitol Hill. Using the so-called "nuclear option," Democratic-controlled Senate stripped the ability of Republicans to block presidential nominations. Now, the Senate needs a vote of only 51 - from 60 - to end filibusters against presidential nominees. The new rule won't apply to Supreme Court nominees. Historically - filibusters have been used to delay executive and judicial nominees from assuming their roles - a tool President Barack Obama called "reckless and relentless." (SOUNDBITE) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "The vote today I think is an indication that a majority of Senators believe, as I believe, that enough is enough." The move came after Democrats' frustration at Republicans for using the filibuster to block Obama's appointments to the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals -- the nation's second highest court. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (SOUNDBITE) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID SAYING: "Everyone knows what is going on is absolutely unfair and wrong and I'm glad we changed it. It is a day of freshness for this great country of ours." But, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell insisted that there was no need for a rule change. (SOUNDBITE) SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL SAYING: "This was nothing more than a power grab in order to try to advance the Obama Administration's regulatory agenda." The filibuster has become a symbol of Washington gridlock and survived dozens of attacks over the years largely because both political parties use it while in the minority of the Senate.

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Democrats ditch U.S. Senate rule blamed for Washington gridlock

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 01:36