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Senate Democrats plan to delay vote on Rice nomination

[JURIST] Capitol Hill sources indicate some Senate Democrats will attempt to delay the vote on the nomination of Condoleezza Rice [White House biography] as secretary of state. The Senate reconvenes Thursday at 3 PM ET to debate the nomination. Aides said Democrats Barbara Boxer [official website] of California and Robert Byrd [official website] of West Virginia will give long speeches in opposition to the nomination in an effort to extend the debate until 7 PM ET, the beginning of the inaugural balls. Boxer and Byrd hope Republican members will not stay the debate which will effectively push the vote into next week. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee [official website] approved Rice's nomination 16-2 on Wednesday with the two dissenting votes coming from Boxer and Senator John Kerry [official website] of Massachusetts. Rice would become the first African-American woman to become secretary of state if confirmed. CNN has more.

UPDATE [9:30PM] ~ The vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State has been postponed until next week in response to demands by Senate Democrats for a full debate on the nomination. Republicans agreed to allow for nine hours of debate next Tuesday, followed by a full Senate vote on Wednesday. While Senate Democrats do not deny that Rice will likely be confirmed without incident, the extended debate is widely seen as an opportunity to criticize President Bush's Iraq policy. CNN has details.

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