WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats eased the way for swift approval of President Barack Obama's current and future nominees on today, voting unilaterally to overturn decades of Senate precedent and undermine Republicans' ability to block final votes.
The 52-48 vote to undercut venerable filibuster rules on presidential appointees capped more than a decade of struggle in which presidents of both parties complained about delays in confirming appointees, particularly to the federal courts.
At the White House, Obama applauded the vote. He said Republicans had used delaying tactics "as a reckless and relentless tool to grind all business to a halt."
"And that's not what our founders intended. And it's certainly not what our country needs right now," the president said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who launched the effort, accused Republicans of "unbelievable, unprecedented obstruction" of Obama's selections to fill court vacancies and other offices.