07/16/2013 01:38 EDT | Updated 09/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Senate braces for showdown as 2-party talks falter and anger festers over blocks on nominees

WASHINGTON - Senators are preparing for a potentially rancorous day Tuesday as Democrats say they may change procedural rules to keep Republicans from blocking White House nominees for top executive jobs.

Several Senate votes are scheduled to test whether Republicans will allow simple-majority confirmations of a handful of President Barack Obama's long-stalled nominations. Majority Leader Harry Reid proposes to end the ability of 41 senators in the 100-member chamber to block action on White House nominations other than judges.

Some Democrats fear Republicans will retaliate if they become the majority in a future election.

A rare, three-hour private meeting of nearly all 100 senators Monday night failed to resolve the tensions. Some senators held out hope for a breakthrough early Tuesday.