Senate chugs along with nomination votes

The Senate voted 79-19 to confirm Landya McCafferty’s nomination to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire.

The Senate is expected to spend the rest of the week on executive and judicial nominees. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has filed cloture on several of President Obama’s nominees, and if Republicans continue to use all the debate time, the votes could bleed into the weekend.

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said McCafferty would be the first female judge to sit on the federal bench in New Hampshire and that she was suited for the job.

“It’s unfortunate that it has taken so long for a well-qualified, noncontroversial district court nomination like this one to finally receive a floor vote,” Shaheen said ahead of the vote. “But I have no doubt that Landya McCafferty will be an outstanding federal district court judge.”

After confirming McCafferty's nomination, the Senate voted 57-41 to end debate on Patricia Wald to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Her confirmation vote is expected after up to eight hours of debate, but it is more likely to occur around 5 p.m.

Republicans are refusing to yield back any debate time out of frustration that Democrats unilaterally changed the Senate filibuster rules last month, allowing several of Obama’s nominees that were previously blocked to get up-or-down votes this week.

The Senate has been in session debating nominations since 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

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