Senate approves EEOC nominee after marathon GOP protest

The Senate on Thursday morning confirmed an Obama administration nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after Republicans talked through the night to protest the Democratic decision to prevent filibusters against nominations.

Senators voted 54-41 to confirm Chai Feldblum to serve on the EEOC.

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Feldblum is one of several Obama nominees that are being considered this week and next week. They're being confirmed under a Senate rule change that allows nominations to proceed with a simple majority vote, instead of the 60-vote threshold that had been in place for decades.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) triggered this so-called "nuclear option" to make the change.

Republicans warned that this move would forever alter the Senate, and last night, they spent hours protesting the move and forced a 1 a.m. vote on a nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The continued to speak right up until the vote on Feldblum.

Several Republicans used the time to argue against ObamaCare, and said that law was rammed through with only Democratic support. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Democrats are now trying to do the same with Obama's nominees, and are doing so to divert attention away from ObamaCare's failures.

"By breaking the rules to change the rules of the Senate … what we basically saw was the ramming through — just like the ObamaCare vote — the president's nominees," Rubio said early this morning. "This whole effort here to start this debate on judges is an effort to distract from ObamaCare."

The Senate is expected to spend the rest of the week on executive and judicial nominees. Reid has filed cloture on several nominees and if Republicans continue to use all the debate time, the vote could bleed into the weekend.

After confirming Feldblum, the Senate voted 55-41 to end debate on Elizabeth Wolford to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York. Her confirmation vote is expected after up to two hours of debate.

Republicans have accused the administration and Senate Democrats of trying to “pack the court,” saying the recent rule change will change the U.S. judiciary system forever by turning into a partisan fight.