TheAssociated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A showdown approaching, the Senate's top party leaders are clashing in unusually personal terms over the confirmation - or lack of it - for President Barack Obama's top-level appointments.

Majority Leader Harry Reid went first, saying Republican obstruction is denying Obama the right to have his team in place. He added it could be said that Republican leader Mitch McConnell had broken his word about permitting confirmations.

McConnell accused Democrats of attempting a power grab, and added that Reid had misquoted him.

Reid has threatened to change the Senate's rules to eliminate the possibility of a filibuster against presidential appointments.

At issue are stalled nominations to head the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board and appeals court judges.

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