WASHINGTON - A showdown looming, Republicans and Democrats groped for a compromise behind closed doors Monday over confirming stalled White House appointees in a dispute that threatened what little bipartisan cooperation remains in the Senate.
All 100 senators were invited to the rare closed-door meeting in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, just down the hall from where they normally debate the issues of the day with the public and news media in attendance.
Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted in advance that Republicans permit yes-or-no confirmation votes on all seven of the nominees at issue. If they won't, he declared,
Democrats will change the Senate's rules to strip them of their ability to delay.
There was no formal response from Republicans, although Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell met privately during the day.