Reid threatens to work through Christmas

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday threatened to work through Christmas if Republicans continue to run out the clock on several of President Obama’s nominees.

“We could finish these votes now, but we’re going to work through the weekend,” Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “If it takes us working right through Christmas, we will work right through Christmas.”

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The Senate is spending 30 hours debating the nomination of Nina Pillard to the D.C. Circuit Court. A vote on her confirmation is scheduled for 1 a.m. Thursday unless Republicans agree to yield back time.

Republicans are expected to force the full use of debate time in retaliation for Democrats' decision last month to trigger the "nuclear option" and end filibusters of most presidential nominees.

The rule change means only 51 votes are needed to end a filibuster on nominations below the level of the Supreme Court, when before 60 votes were needed.

Reid asked for unanimous consent to hold Pillard’s confirmation vote at 9 a.m. Thursday and immediately move on to cloture on the next nominee, but Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) objected.

“I think we should follow what regular order we have left,” Grassley said. “Especially after the way the Majority changed the rules two weeks ago.”

Reid said it was a “shame” that Republicans were forcing Democrats to run out the debate clock, saying it was keeping the Senate from getting to other important issues and would potentially keep lawmakers away from their families during the holidays.

Reid has filed cloture motions on 10 more of Obama's executive and judicial nominees. He said he would file more before the Senate leaves, which is curently scheduled to be the end of next week.

The Senate will also have to pass a budget and defense bill once the House passes the measures this week.