Washington (CNN) - The partisan battle over presidential nominations heated up again in the Senate Monday and threatened to dominate the remaining days before the winter recess and crowd out legislation important to both parties.
Senate Republicans, still angry over filibuster changes Democrats made last month, blocked a series of largely non-controversial nominations Democrats tried to clear.
The move came as Democrats announced plans to push confirmation votes over the next two weeks on presidential nominees who were blocked under the old filibuster rules that required 60 votes to move a nominee forward. Under the new rules, which Democrats instituted over the objections of all Republicans and some Democrats, only 51 votes are required to break a filibuster.
A confirmation vote on the first stalled nominee - Patricia Millett, nominated to be a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit - is scheduled for Tuesday morning after being postponed Monday because weather-related problems prevented several senators from reaching the Capitol.
Reid also set up key procedural votes for Tuesday to break a filibuster of Rep. Mel Watt, D-North Carolina, to a top housing post. When Reid asked for consent to clear roughly 75 nominations, many of them non-controversial, Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander challenged him, complaining about the "tyranny of the majority" that had created a "Senate without rules."
The confrontation is a sign of the lack of cooperation Republicans warned of before Democrats changed the filibuster rules - known in Capitol Hill lingo as the "nuclear option" because it would so damage relations between the parties.
Reid also took procedural steps to overcome filibusters of 10 presidential appointees, including Jeh Johnson to be secretary of Homeland Security. An aide also said Reid was prepared to force votes to break the filibusters of two other appeals court nominees.