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Obama Says Senate Rule Change Will End Pattern of Obstruction

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Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said a major Senate rule change enacted today by Democrats will end an “unprecedented pattern of obstruction” a small group of senators that has been harmful to the economy and has blocked his nominations to important government posts.

The Senate rule requiring 60 votes to advance legislation and nominations has been used in many cases “just to refight the results of an election” and is a major source of frustration for American voters, he said at the White House.

“It’s harmed our economy and it’s been harmful to our democracy,” Obama said. “A majority of senators believe, as I believe, that enough is enough.”

The Democratic majority in the Senate earlier today enacted the change, paving the way to allow a simple majority to confirm nominees for executive branch jobs and most judicial posts. The action effectively ends the requirement that at least 60 votes are needed to advance nominations, except for those to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democratic support for procedural changes gained momentum this week after a third consecutive Obama nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Democrats control 55 of the chamber’s 100 seats.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael C. Bender in Washington at mbender10@bloomberg.net; Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net