Democrats are closer to getting the filibuster-proof majority they need to get President Barack Obama's health care reform measure passed in the U.S. Senate.
The Massachusetts state senate has passed a bill to allow the governor to name an interim replacement for the late senator Edward M. Kennedy until voters pick a placement on January 19.
A final procedural vote is expected Wednesday. Gov. Deval Patrick has said he would sign the bill.
Republicans say Democrats are changing state law for political gain as state lawmakers have received pressure from Washington to get the bill passed as quickly as possible.