The political maneuvering in Washington includes the Republicans' use of Senate rules to block two nominees from going to the next step in the confirmation process despite having majority support, followed by Democrats planning to force committee votes without the GOP's help, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Such a Democratic push-through to the full Senate would almost certainly cause a Republican filibuster, which would put the confirmations in danger and, for the short term, leave vacancies at the top of two federal agencies, the Times reported.
Republicans said they oppose the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency because of what they deem to be her insufficient replies to their questions.
They also object to the nomination of Thomas E. Perez for labor secretary, saying he is too political.
Republicans have also said they will examine the family financial dealings of Penny Pritzker, a top Obama fundraiser and wealthy hotel heiress, whose nomination for commerce secretary they also oppose.