Senate Democrats

Grinding the Senate to a Halt

The freshmen and sophomore Democratic Senators went to the Senate floor today to highlight continued efforts by their Republican colleagues to filibuster President Obama’s nominees. Sen. Al Franken protested Republicans’ use of procedural delay tactics to stall the confirmation of nominees, particularly when many end up passing with large majorities, including those who blocked them to begin with. "This is a perversion of the filibuster and a perversion of the role of the Senate," said Franken. "It used to be that the filibuster was reserved for matters of great principle. Today it has become a way to play out the clock."   As of this morning, there are 88 nominees on the Senate calendar compared to just five in the previous Congress. These 88 nominees comprise posts at the following agencies:  

  • Federal Election Commission
  • Department of Energy
  • The Judiciary
  • Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Small Business Administration
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Army
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Amtrak Board of Directors
  • National Transportation Safety Board
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Farm Credit Administration
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Treasury
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of State
  • Department of Energy
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • National Council on Disability
  • Tennessee Valley Authority

In looking through this long list of nominees, Sen. Jeff Merkley said, "I think you get the picture that this is a list of systematic efforts to undermine the ability of the executive branch to do its job."
"One of the things that united us in coming here this morning is that the nominations process is broken," said Sen. Mark Warner. "We need to start doing our job and start voting up or down on these nominees that are languishing on the Senate calendar.