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)
By Alister Bull and Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen moved closer on Thursday to becoming the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank after a Senate committee approved her nomination and sent it to the full Senate for a final vote. If confirmed, as is widely expected, Yellen would replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires on January 31 and become the most powerful woman in world finance. Three Republicans backed her appointment and one Democrat voted no. A Democratic leadership aide said the aim was to hold a confirmation vote in the full Senate in December. Nominated by President Barack Obama, Yellen is viewed as a monetary policy dove more concerned about the costs to society of high unemployment than about the risk aggressive actions to lower it will ignite future inflation or fuel asset bubbles.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday he hopes budget talks can lead to a fiscal 2014 spending plan, but if they fail Republicans intend to pursue a stop-gap measure that keeps automatic "sequester" spending cuts in place. If the talks fail to provide government funding ahead of a January 15 deadline, Boehner said he hopes the House is prepared to pass a temporary spending bill at levels set by the Budget Control Act, which specifies a $967 billion discretionary spending level after the automatic cuts start in January. ...
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he was committed to moving ahead with a tougher Iran sanctions bill when the Senate returns from a holiday recess early next month, adding to pressure on Tehran as negotiators meet in Geneva on a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. "I will support a bill that would broaden the scope of our current petroleum sanctions, place limitations on trade with strategic sectors of the Iranian economy that support its nuclear ambitions, as well as pursue those who divert goods to Iran," Reid said on the Senate floor. A sanctions bill has been held up in the Senate Banking Committee for months, after President Barack Obama's administration asked for a delay to allow time to pursue a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis. The West says Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate aims to hold a vote in December to confirm Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, a Senate Democratic leadership aide said on Thursday. The current Fed No. 2 earlier won backing for her nomination from the Senate Banking Committee, which voted 14 to 8 to advance her confirmation to the full Senate for approval. Yellen, nominated by President Barack Obama to replace current Fed chief Ben Bernanke when his term expires on January 31, is widely expected to win confirmation without a hitch. She would become the first woman to lead the U.S. ...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expects to have the votes needed to strip Republicans of their ability to block President Barack Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees, a senior Democratic aide said on Thursday. The aide said the vote could come on Thursday to change Senate rules to reduce to 51 from the current 60 the number of votes needed to end procedural roadblocks, known as filibusters, against all of Obama's nominees - except for those he may make to the Supreme Court, the aide said. To change the Senate rule, Reid will need 51 votes in the 100-member Senate, which Obama's Democrats control, 55-45. "Reid expects to have the votes," the aide said, adding that he could push for a rule change later on Thursday.
By Alister Bull and Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved Janet Yellen's nomination to become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, sending it to the full Senate for a final vote. If she is confirmed, as is widely expected, the current No. 2 at the central bank will replace its chairman, Ben Bernanke, when his term expires on January 31, making her the most powerful woman in world finance. Three Republicans voted in favor of her nomination and one Democrat voted against. Nominated by President Barack Obama, Yellen is viewed as a monetary policy dove who puts more weight on driving down high unemployment than on the risk this will ignite future inflation.