Washington DC—Senate Democrats Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy and Charles Schumer held a press conference call today to discuss their efforts to fulfill the Senate’s constitutional role of confirming Presidential nominations. Democrats have cooperated with the White House on the majority of its appointments, but President Bush stubbornly insists on backing a few unacceptable candidates.
“If the President truly wants to confirm his nominations, he must abandon his ‘my-way-or-the highway’ approach, and spend more time cooperating with Democrats than holding political events for show,” Durbin said.
Said Leahy: “With a political convention of a small but influential part of his base in town this week, it is regrettable to see the President once again playing politics with judicial nominations. The Democratic-led Senate has made progress in filling vacancies in the judiciary and in the Department of Justice. Just last year the Senate confirmed 40 judicial nominations – more nominations than were confirmed in any of the preceding three Congresses under Republican control. We continue to be fair to President Bush’s nominees, unlike the Republicans who pocket-filibustered 60 qualified Clinton nominees, many without a hearing.”
“I have shown the commitment to continue to consider judicial nominations in this election year,” he said. If the President would change course and work with home-state Senators to send qualified, consensus nominations to the Senate for consideration, we could make even more progress. There is still time. I hope the White House will change its tune, tone down the political rhetoric, and work with the Senate so we can fill our constitutional role of advice and consent.”
Said Schumer: “This president should spend less time focusing on employing a select few cronies and more time trying to solve the real economic problems that are sending our nation into a recession. The Administration needs to take off its ideological handcuffs, stop playing politics, and get its hands dirty trying to figure out how to reverse the 17,000 lost jobs we experienced last month.”