WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans have blocked a fresh batch of President Barack Obama's nominees in the aftermath of last month's move by Democrats to weaken the minority party's ability to block presidential appointments.
The action came Monday as the Senate returned to work for the first times since majority Democrats muscled through changes making it harder for senators to use filibusters - or procedural delays - to block most nominations.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sought unanimous consent to approve more than 30 nominations.
Most were minor appointees such as undersecretaries of the departments of State and Defense.
GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee objected - in effect blocking the nominations. He said he wanted to understand how senators can operate in a chamber without rules.
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