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Tom Price's path to Senate confirmation is clear, thanks to Harry Reid

WASHINGTON -- Harry Reid, the exiting U.S. Senate minority leader, chuckled and shook his head Tuesday when a reporter asked about U.S. Rep. Tom Price's nomination as secretary of health and human services.

It's because of a change the Nevadan made to Senate rules in 2013 that Price, R-Roswell, is virtually assured to be confirmed to the Cabinet-level post early next year.

That rules change -- the fact that it was dubbed the "nuclear option" signaled how contentious the move was, blocks senators from filibustering executive nominations.

That means Price will only need the support of 51 senators in January to be installed as the 23rd secretary of health and human services. Given that the GOP is expected to hold 52 seats in the new year, the road ahead should be relatively easy for him if Republicans stick together.

That hasn't stopped Democrats from bristling at Price's nomination. Read more here about how senators plan to handle his nomination in the new year.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.