Senate votes to confirm several Obama nominees

The Senate confirmed several of President Obama’s judicial nominees and one executive nominee Wednesday.

The Senate voted 100-0 on the nomination of Christopher Reid Cooper to be a U.S. District Judge for D.C.

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Confirmation of M. Douglas Harpool to be a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Missouri was cleared on a 93-5 vote.

The Senate also voted to confirm the nominations of Gerald McHugh, Jr. and Edward Smith to be a U.S. District Judges for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania — McHugh received a 59-41 vote and Smith a 69-31 vote.

All of the votes against Smith were from Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), most likely because of his views on abortion.

And Joseph Westphal was confirmed to be U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia by voice-vote.

The Senate considered these nominees while waiting for the House to pass a temporary fix to the Medicare sustainability growth rate (SGR), which is expected Thursday. If lawmakers don’t act by March 31, there will be a cut to the Medicare physician reimbursement rate. Medicare physicians will see a 24 percent cut to their payments on April 1.

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