Dems block GOP challenge of rule change
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP senator: Don't expect Trump to 'have your back' on healthcare vote Senate Dems step up protests ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Johnson becomes fourth GOP senator unwilling to proceed on healthcare bill 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 LevinTrump's crush on foreign autocrats threatens democracy at home OPINION: Congress must press forward with its Russia investigation Democrats and Republicans share blame in rewriting the role of the Senate MORE (D-Mich.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThis week: Senate races toward ObamaCare repeal vote Senate Republicans reluctant to rush vote on healthcare bill Manchin: Senate can do 'an awful lot' to improve healthcare bill 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 ReidCharles Koch thanks Harry Reid for helping his book sales Warren cautions Dems against infighting Dems see surge of new candidates 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.