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McCain angry over rule change

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: House panel approves 0B defense bill McCain fundraiser faces felony drug charges in Arizona GOP senator blocks Obama Army nominee over Guantanamo MORE (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that he would get over his anger with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for using the “nuclear option,” but he would be forever saddened by what the rule change would do to the institution.

“I’m angry, yes, but I’ll get over that anger,” McCain said on the Senate floor. “It’s the sorrow of what has been done to this institution that will be with us a long time.”

Earlier Thursday, 52 Senate Democrats voted to change Senate filibuster rules on presidential nominees. A motion to end debate on most presidential nominees will require only a simple majority now, rather than 60 votes.

Reid said the move was necessary because Republicans had blocked up-or-down votes on three of Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court: Robert Wilkins, Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Millett. And Caitlin Halligan withdrew her nomination because of GOP threats to block her confirmation.

Reid had threatened to use the nuclear option — changing the rules with a simple majority instead of a supermajority — several times this year. But each time lawmakers gathered to discuss alternatives. At the beginning of the year Republicans vowed not to filibuster any of President Obama’s nominees unless there were “extraordinary circumstances.” Democrats say the GOP has reneged on that promise.

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