Friday: Senate to postpone work on two nominations

In a rare Friday session, the Senate will do nothing.

Votes on two nominees were scheduled to take place, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to postpone those votes until after a two-week recess because members of his own party left town.

On Thursday evening, Reid got unanimous consent to vote Friday on final confirmation of Michelle Friedland to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit and David Weil to be administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. But now he will move those votes to Monday, April 28, when the Senate is schedule to return from an Easter break.

Reid tried to hold the votes Thursday, but Republicans refused to yield back their debate time. Reid said Democrats would stay and finish work on the nominations without Republicans because only a simply majority was needed, but Democrats abandoned him as well.

Last year, Senate Democrats unilaterally voted to change the Senate rules allowing a simple majority to advance most nominations instead of the previously required 60-votes. Republicans have complained this rule change greatly undermined minority party rights in the Senate.

Reid frequently threatens Friday and weekend work, but it rarely happens — some things never change. 

When Republicans refused to allow the votes Thursday, Reid insisted it was important that the Senate approve the nominees this week so it can focus on legislation to increase the federal minimum wage when it returns more than two weeks later.

The House completed its work Thursday before leaving for the two-week break. Both chambers passed an adjournment agreement, S.Con.Res. 35, meaning neither will have to hold pro forma sessions. Both plan to return Monday, April 28. 

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