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Senate Approves Nominees; Pro Forma Sessions Still Planned

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed through more than 80 executive branch nominations early Friday morning but said that would not affect his decision to keep the Senate operating in pro forma sessions during the two-week recess. The package, which included approval of former Reid aide Gregory Jaczko to another term on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, passed by voice vote around 2:30 a.m. Friday after Senators had approved a $3 trillion budget proposal. The group of nominees doesn’t appear to include Reid’s former chief of staff Susan McCue to a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Even with the approval of the nominees, many of whom were Republican picks to commissions and departments, Reid will hold firm on his plan to keep the Senate operating over the recess. Reid decided Thursday afternoon he would bring the chamber into a series of non-voting sessions every few days over the break to block President Bush from using his authority to make recess appointments while Senators are out of town. Those pro forma sessions have become somewhat of the norm for the Senate during its recesses this Congress since Bush used last year’s spring break to put in place nominees opposed by Democrats. Among them was GOP donor Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium.

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