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White House blasts senator for blocking nominees

WASHINGTON — The White House is criticizing a Republican senator from Alabama for putting a blanket lock on Obama administration nominees over spending disputes involving his home state.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Friday called Sen. Richard Shelby's tactic a "poster child" for what's broken in Washington and said the senator is preventing qualified people from serving in important government positions.

Senators frequently block individual appointments but Shelby's blanket hold is unusual.

Shelby, who did not respond to a request for comment, has built his career on steering federal spending to Alabama. He is feuding with the administration over a new Air Force tanker that could be assembled in Alabama, and a new FBI explosives center.