Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama called Thursday for the Senate to continue acting on his nominations for high-level federal positions that have been stalled by politics.
In a White House statement, Obama said the Senate confirmed 27 nominees on Thursday, "many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months."
"At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination," Obama's statement said.
Noting the nominees had received "broad, bipartisan support" in committee consideration, Obama's statement said "many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a senator's state or simply to frustrate progress."
"It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people," Obama's statement said.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Mitch McConnell is known for bare-knuckled politics, but the Kentucky Republican showed his personal side Thursday when he broke down in tears on the Senate floor while speaking of his departing chief of staff.
Kyle Simmons, a longtime aide to the Senate minority leader, is leaving to spend more time with his family, McConnell said.
The senator repeatedly choked back sobs and used a handkerchief to wipe away tears as he paid tribute to Simmons.
Describing Simmons as a tough but gracious competitor who always remembered the human side of politics, McConnell needed an emotional pause when saying: "Now that he's leaving, I'm just as confident that our office will carry on just as it always has because he leaves a fantastic team behind."
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