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Senate Sets Stage for Partisan Clash on Obama Nominations

Senate Democratic leaders are forcing a confrontation with Republicans to end delays in confirming seven of President Barack Obama’s nominees including Labor secretary and head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he also has enough votes among Democrats to change Senate rules to bar the minority party from obstructing executive-branch nominees, escalating a fight that Republicans say could cause them to halt Senate business in protest. Reid took action today setting up votes on the nominees, while leaders in both parties later agreed to a rare closed-door meeting of all 100 senators on July 15 to try to resolve the impasse.