Senate Republicans continued to make life difficult for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Christmas Eve, blocking his efforts to name Senate conferees to negotiate a final version of health care reform legislation with the House.After Thursdays early morning vote to pass the health care bill, Reid hoped to name his conferees to the House-Senate conference on the bill. But Democrats dropped the plan after it became clear Republicans would object, a senior Democratic leadership aide said.Republicans also objected to confirmation of a host of nominations pending before the Senate, including the nomination of Magistrate Judge Edward Chen to become a judge on the U.S. District Court for Northern California, and returned to the White House the nomination of Dawn Johnsen, picked by the president to serve as the next assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel. A number of Treasury Department nominees were also blocked by Republicans on Thursday and will remain in limbo until sometime next year.Despite those setbacks, Democrats adjourned the Senate until Jan. 20, when the chamber will vote on the nomination of Judge Beverly Baldwin Martin to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The Senate will hold two pro forma sessions, one on Jan. 5 and one on Jan. 19.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.