Yesterday, Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate to highlight the adverse effects of Republican obstructionism. In the first four months of the Bush administration, when the Senate was controlled by the President’s party and Democrats were in the minority, there wasn’t a single filibuster of a Bush nominee. Yet, in the first four months of the Obama administration, Republicans filibustered eight of his nominees.
We know Obama’s nominees were not filibustered because they were controversial or unqualified, as their final votes were in the 80 to 97 vote range. As Senator Reid said,
I would try to explain the Republican reason for their refusal, but as with so many other things they oppose, a rationale simply doesn’t exist. 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.
These delay tactics waste precious time when Congress should be working on issues such as health care, the economy, climate legislation, and filling the rampant vacancies in our judicial system.
The Senate must vote to confirm nominees such as Professor Dawn Johnsen, who was tapped to head the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) on February 11, 2009 and has still not had a vote despite her eminent qualifications, experience in the OLC during the Clinton administration, and support from distinguished Republicans and Democrats.
We’re glad Senator Reid has spoken out against these harmful delays and in favor of putting the president’s team in place to work for the American people.
Now it’s up to Majority Leader Reid to call the question and let the Senate vote on these highly qualified, outstanding nominees.