(CNN) – Senators cast their last votes of the year Friday - confirming a new IRS commissioner and the No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department - and dashed from the Capitol to start their Christmas recess.
Their final votes, to break Republican filibusters and approve several of President Barack Obama's nominees, seemed a fitting conclusion to a year when the divisive issues of filibusters and nominations were dominant.
Friday wrapped up a grueling week of work for Senate lawmakers, who conducted marathon sessions over stalled nominees. Majority Leader Harry Reid was hospitalized briefly for exhaustion. He was back home and cleared to return to work by evening.
(CNN) – The Senate broke another Republican filibuster on Monday in confirming former top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson to head the Homeland Security Department.
The vote to approve Johnson, a key architect of President Barack Obama's anti-terrorism policies that have included stepped up drone use in terrorist hotspots, was 78-16.
Johnson was nominated by Obama in October and will replace former Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left the Cabinet post earlier this year to head California's public university system.
(CNN) - It was smooth sailing in the House, but things are looking much tighter in the Senate for a bipartisan budget proposal that aims to avert another government shutdown and relax sweeping forced spending cuts.
Still, despite strong opposition from Republicans to the compromise, supporters are within striking distance of rounding up the votes they need to pass it in the Senate next week.FULL STORY
(CNN) - Frustrated Republicans are retaliating for a Democratic power play to weaken their hand in opposing presidential nominations by forcing an all-night session.
Votes on judicial and other appointments were set in the early morning hours on Thursday as fallout over efforts by majority Democrats to enforce their rule change to expedite consideration of appointments, the so-called "nuclear option," grew more intense.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Supporters of a move to end filibusters of presidential nominees picked up a key ally Tuesday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a veteran California Democrat, says she has changed her mind and now supports using the so-called "nuclear option" - changing Senate rules over the objections of Republicans to prevent those filibusters. She said she has been persuaded to take the extraordinary step because the public is anxious to have Washington work and "you can't do it if the President can't get a cabinet, a sub-cabinet, judges, commissioners." Filibusters require 60 votes to set aside, a high hurdle in the narrowly divided Senate.
Updated 6:58 p.m. ET, 11/18/2013
Washington (CNN) - For the third time in three weeks, Senate Republicans blocked a nominee of President Obama's to be a judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals, a powerful court often considered second in influence to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On a vote of 53 to 38, Democratic supporters fell short of the 60 votes they needed to break a filibuster of nominee Robert Wilkins, who is currently a U.S. District Court judge in Washington.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans Tuesday blocked the President's second nominee in two weeks to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit in continuing the persistent and partisan battle over presidential nominations.
Republicans scuttled the nomination of Georgetown Law School professor Nina Pillard on a largely party line vote just as they blocked Patricia Millett 12 days ago. GOP senators argued the D.C. Circuit has enough judges to handle its caseload and President Obama should nominate judges for other courts that need additional help.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Tom Coburn is facing his second diagnosis of prostate cancer in two years, his office said Tuesday.
"Dr. Coburn has had a recurrence of prostate cancer and will be undergoing further evaluation and treatment," spokesman John Hart said in a statement.
Washington (CNN) - A Republican senator who suffered a debilitating stroke nearly two years ago spoke Monday on the Senate floor for the time since returning to the chamber.
In halting but clear speech, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois spoke briefly in favor of a bill that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual or gender identity. The Senate is debating and voting on the bill, which is known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, this week.
(CNN) - Top Obama administration officials involved in the troubled roll out of the Obamacare website got an earful from Senate Democrats in a closed meeting on Thursday.
“There is a lot of frustration,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, as she left the session in the Capitol with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, and former acting White House Budget Office Director Jeff Zients, who is spearheading the administration’s response to the problems.