Harry ReidSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.
Harry Reid

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate is nearing a potential showdown on curbing the power the Republican minority has to block President Barack Obama's nominations, in a dispute that has been building for months.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was expected to force a vote as soon as Thursday on requiring only 51 votes to end filibusters, or delaying tactics, against nominees for high-level judgeships and agency officials.

Currently it takes 60 votes to end filibusters. That is a tough threshold for Democrats to achieve with their 55-45 edge over the GOP.

The clash was prompted by Republican filibusters that have recently sidetracked three Obama nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That is one of the nation's most powerful courts because it rules on federal agency actions.