Democrats Vote To Curb Filibusters On Appointees06:42
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The U.S. Capitol building. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
The U.S. Capitol building. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The Senate has voted to overturn decades of precedent by eliminating a rule that allows a minority to block final votes.

In a 52-48 vote, Senate Democrats threw out the rule, which can require a 60-vote majority to assure a yes-or-no vote on presidential nominees to the courts, Cabinet departments or other agencies.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who launched the move, accused Republicans of obstructing President Barack Obama's nominees and said the Senate has to change "before this institution becomes obsolete."

Supreme Court nominations would be exempted from the change.

To hear the interview with NPR's David Welna, click the audio at the top of the page.

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This segment aired on November 21, 2013.

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