Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama will stop blocking Senate confirmation of about 70 government appointees nominated by President Barack Obama.
Shelby's office said the purpose of the "holds" was to get White House attention to two issues critical to national security. Both involve major funding for projects located in Alabama - an Air
Force refueling tanker contract and an FBI explosives center.
Shelby's action delayed the Senate from acting on the president's nominees and drew fire for stopping Senate votes. Shelby's office said Monday night that it would release its holds
on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force contract.