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Senate debates Dems' plan to curb filibusters

Published: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 10:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. The Senate is nearing a potential showdown on curbing the power that the Republican minority has to block President Barack Obamaís nominations, as Democrats edge toward muscling a rewrite of filibuster rules through the chamber. Reid was expected to force a vote as soon as Thursday on requiring only 51 votes to end filibusters, or delaying tactics, against nominees for high-level judgeships and agency officials. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has started a showdown debate over a Democratic effort to curb the power of minority Republicans to block the president's nominations.

The Democratic proposal seems likely to succeed. It would change the number of votes needed to end filibusters from 60 to a simple majority of the Senate's 100 members.

It would apply to executive branch and most judicial nominations, but exclude Supreme Court justices and legislation.

It would be the most sweeping change in decades in the filibuster, a delaying tactic designed to protect the rights of the party in the minority.

While the change would weaken the ability to block President Barack Obama's nominees, Republicans have warned that Democrats will regret the change when the GOP regains control of the White House and the Senate.

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