Dems block GOP challenge of rule change
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThe Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Police remove protesters opposed to ObamaCare repeal from McConnell's office GOP senator: I would not call this 'ObamaCare repeal' 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 ManchinZinke hits Dems for delaying Interior nominees Manchin faces primary challenge from the left Sessions sequel falls flat following Comey drama 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 ReidDems see surge of new candidates Dems to grind Senate to a halt over ObamaCare repeal fight GOP fires opening attack on Dem reportedly running for Heller's Senate seat 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.