• The Washington Post

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The U.S. Senate vote Thursday to lower the barriers for presidential nominations will make it easier for President Barack Obama to accomplish key second-term priorities, including tougher measures on climate change and financial regulation, that have faced intense opposition from Republicans in Congress.

The move to allow a simple majority vote on most executive and judicial nominees also sets the stage for Obama to appoint new top officials to the Federal Reserve and other key agencies — likely leading to more aggressive action to stimulate the economy and housing market. And it frees Obama to make changes to his Cabinet without the threat of long delays in the Senate before the confirmation of nominees.

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