A major battle is shaping up in the U.S. Senate, with Democratic majority leader Harry Reid accusing congressional Republicans of abusing power for their own political good.

Speaking in his party's weekly radio address Saturday, Senator Reid of Nevada said plans by Republican leaders to ban the use of filibusters threatens the checks-and-balances system devised by the nation's founding fathers.

He said stripping away the power of senators to use extended debate to stall or reject presidential judicial nominees would simply make the U.S. Senate a rubber stamp for the White House.

Mr. Reid has previously threatened to retaliate by bringing Senate business to a virtual halt if the Republican plan, called the nuclear option, is enacted.