"Senate Republicans are simply so opposed to everything – absolutely everything – that they even oppose putting people in some of the most important positions in our government."
– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, October 29, 2009
Our Senate Republican colleagues have been stalling President Obama’s nominees for months now. According to Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, many of these nominees have been blocked from confirmation, "for reasons having nothing to do with their suitability for their jobs."
Today we have 53 nominees on the Executive Calendar and another 175 pending in committee. In the majority of cases, the Republican holds are completely unrelated to their qualifications. The most flagrant examples include:
- Hold on the Surgeon General while H1N1 is a National Emergency
- Hold on DHS official responsible for Pandemics and Bioterror
- Hold on State Department official responsible for Central America (Honduras)
- Hold on Deputy U.S. Trade Rep. over a tobacco bill in Canadian Parliament
- Hold on GSA Administrator over a federal building in Kansas City
Consider, for example, the nomination process during President George W. Bush’s first year in office — he had just five nominees on the calendar on October 31, 2001. On judicial nominees alone, the Senate voted on more than one-third of Bush’s confirmed nominees (26 of 68) less than three months after the president nominated them. In fact, Senator Reid made this possible, moving many nominees directly to Senate floor votes after they cleared the Senate judiciary committee. There wasn’t a single filibuster of any Bush nominee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor this morning about the backlog of good, qualified nominees awaiting confirmation.
“If I sound like a broken record, it’s because Senate Republicans continue to be record-breakers. Last year, after they held up the work of Congress more than any other time in history, the American people rejected the Republican status quo. They said ‘no’ to Republicans’ just-say-no strategy. I would say that Republicans delay and delay at their own peril – but the truth is, all Americans suffer. It’s time Republicans let us get to work.”