By Ramsey Cox
Senate Republicans have refused to yield back any debate time on nomination votes out of frustration that Democrats unilaterally changed the Senate filibuster rules last month.
The rule change means only 51 votes are needed to end a filibuster on nominations below the level of the Supreme Court. Previously, 60 votes were needed.
The Senate has been in session debating nominations non-stop since 2 p.m. on Wednesday and is expected to have to work through the weekend if Republicans don’t allow shorter debate times.
Republicans have used the time to criticize the rule change and ObamaCare. But early Friday morning, no one was on the floor despite the GOP’s insistence on using all the debate time.
The next vote on a nominee will be at around 7 a.m. Friday on Deborah James to be secretary of the Air Force. She has bipartisan support and is expected to be easily confirmed.
Reid has criticized Republicans for wasting valuable time; the confirmation of 10 executive and judicial nominees is inevitable because Democrats have 55 votes and only a simple majority is needed.
The Senate is scheduled to be in session for one more week and has a long list of legislation to finish up before the end of the year, including a defense authorization bill and a bipartisan budget agreement.