The Senate approved a slew of executive calendar nominations on Thursday.
The nominations, confirmed by unanimous consent, were mostly Air Force, Army and Navy positions but also included Adam E. Namm as ambassador to the Republic of Ecuador, Michael T. Scuse as under secretary of agriculture for farm and foreign agriculture services, Tony Hammond to be commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission and Deborah S. Delisle as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.
The Senate adjourned shortly after it passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (S. 1925). It is set to gavel back in on May 7 at 10:30 a.m.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), seen as a possible vice presidential candidate for GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, proposed legislation on Thursday that would amend rules issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that put limits on merit pay for union members.
"It is a sad day in America when no matter how hard an employee works, he or she is blocked from higher earning potential," Rubio said. "This bill fixes this arbitrary ceiling placed on these workers and allows the free market to function as it is supposed to.
Legislation is approved in a 68-31 vote; all no votes came from Republican men.
The Senate agreed to a set of amendments on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, moving the legislation forward to a final vote and likely passage on Thursday.
The Senate confirmed two of President Obama's judicial nominees for district court positions in Texas on Thursday.
Gregg Jeffrey Costa was confirmed as the U.S. District judge for the Southern District and David Campos Guaderrama was confirmed as U.S. District judge for Texas's Western District. The vote was 92 to 2 for Costa and Guaderrama was confirmed by voice vote.
Just before the vote Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) accused Republicans of dragging their feat on confirming Obama's judicial nominees, a charge Democrats have repeatedly lobbed at Republicans.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday blasted what he and other Republicans have said is a deliberate Democratic strategy to push for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in order to make it look like Republicans are opposed to this program.
"To suggest that one party speaks for all women is ridiculous," McCain said on the Senate floor. "We don't need to accuse each other of not caring about half the population."
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Thursday marked the third anniversary of the last time the Senate approved a budget resolution, which will fall on Sunday.
"This Sunday, April 29, will mark the third anniversary since the Senate has passed a budget," Sessions said on the Senate floor.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he is hopeful that the Senate can complete work on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, S.1925, on Thursday.
McConnell said Republicans are working with Democrats on an agreement to consider just a few amendments to the bill, and a short time agreement on those amendments.
The chamber voted 62-37 on the bill, which aims to restructure the mail service and protect it from bankruptcy.