Washington The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat Friday to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.
If the "Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote," McConnell said.
Vice President Dick Cheney told the same group Friday that Republicans' loss of Congress in last week's election won't dissuade Bush from continuing to nominate strict-constructionist judges to the federal bench.
Democrats have used filibusters and the threat of them to block several of Bush's more conservative federal appeals court nominees who had the support of a majority of senators but lacked the 60 pledges needed to force a vote.