GOP Blocks 2 Obama Picks, Sets Up Senate Fight
Democrats threaten to change rules requiring 60 votes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2013 7:11 PM CDT
A May 1 file photo of President Obama's nominee to lead the Federal Housing Finance Authority, Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C.   (Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Senate Republicans today blocked President Obama's picks for a powerful federal court and a housing regulatory agency, prompting Democrats to threaten curtailing the GOP's ability to derail nominations. "Something has to change, and I hope we can make the changes necessary through cooperation," Harry Reid said after the votes. Republicans derailed the president's picks of Patricia Millett to become a judge on the US Court of Appeals in DC and Rep. Melvin Watt, D-NC, to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The Senate voted 55-38 to end the delays against Millett and 56-42 to end the blockade against Watt—falling shy each time of the 60 votes Democrats needed to prevail. The defeats immediately subjected Democratic leaders to pressure from liberal groups and newer Democratic senators to change Senate rules that let the minority party force the majority to muster 60 votes on controversial nominations, instead of a simple majority. No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said he doubted Democrats would act on their threats. He said if Democrats change the rules and Republicans win the White House and Senate, "then we could confirm another Scalia, another Thomas with 51 votes," a reference to conservative Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. "So I think they need to think twice, and I think they understand that."

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
GOP Blocks 2 Obama Picks, Sets Up Senate Fight is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 87 comments
Nov 1, 2013 8:28 AM CDT
The Republicans ONLY want qualified judges! Remember Haynesworth? Carswell? Bork? The Republicans ONLY want qualified attorneys-general! Remember John Mitchell! Our ONLY convicted attorney-general? Nixon's first? Perfectly clear?
Nov 1, 2013 6:53 AM CDT
Typical republican Anti-America BS. Stop Obama from doing the president's required job duties, while attacking him for everything they can think of... While blaming him for all of it, to anybody dumb enough to listen.
Nov 1, 2013 6:19 AM CDT
Didn't the President, the leader of the Democratic party famously say " Elections have consequences" ? Well, guess what folks........?