Senate Democrats stop filibusters on nominations

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:56pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a dinner in honor of Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a dinner in honor of Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, November 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic-led Senate, in a historic rule change, stripped Republicans on Thursday of their ability to block President Barack Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees.

On a nearly party-line vote of 52-48, Democrats abruptly changed the Senate's balance of power by reducing from 60 to 51 the number of votes needed to end procedural roadblocks known as filibusters against all presidential nominees, except those for the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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