Reid: No break until nominees are cleared

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidMellman: Give positive a chance Koch network super-PAC launches ad buys in Wisconsin, Nevada Trump: 'I'd have to think about' Cruz for Supreme Court MORE (D-Nev.) on Thursday warned the Senate wouldn't be leaving town until several of President Obama’s nominees are confirmed.

“The Senate will not wait until the new year to consider these nominations,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “These are critical nominations, and if that means working through the weekend and next week, so be it.”

Reid criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDifferent playbooks for Ryan, McConnell in wild 2016 Five takeaways from Indiana Reid: Judiciary a 'rubber stamp' for Trump-McConnell MORE (R-Ky.) for suggesting that the nomination of Janet Yellen to serve as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve was “nonessential.” 

“It’s very shallow to suggest this nomination is nonessential,” Reid said.

Senators are debating the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, which is expected to easily pass. But Republicans have so far insisted on running out the procedural clock, forcing the full 30 hours of debate.

Republicans are upset that Reid waited until the last minute to bring up the Defense bill and that he changed filibuster rules last month.

Reid said that if Republicans “cooperated” the Senate could finish all its work today.

“With cooperation, the Senate could easily pass this bill today,” Reid said. “But without cooperation from our Republican colleagues, senators should expect late night and weekend votes.”

Reid has said he would agree to adjourn for the holidays, if they waived the rule that pending nominations expire at the end of the year.

If Republicans agreed to carry over some nominees, Reid indicated he would be willing to trim the preholiday workload.

Reid wants to confirm several nominees before the break, including Yellen, John Koskinen for the Internal Revenue Service, several judges and a top deputy at the Department of Homeland Security.

— Peter Schroeder contributed.

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