Newly anointed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer insists that therules of the confirmation process are different for President-elect Trump's nominees than they were for President Obama's nominees:
According to reports, Schumer is demanding that hearings for multiple nominees not be held on the same day, severely limiting the ability of committees to have nominees confirmed by inauguration on January 20.
Schumer is also demanding “reams of personal financial data” from Trump’s nominees. It’s quite a change in approach and tone for Schumer, who in 2009 insisted that then-Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner be confirmed “as quickly as possible,” despite Geithner openly admitting to not paying his full taxes while working at the International Monetary Fund from 2001-2004.
Apparently unconcerned by the appearance of partisan politics, Schumer’s disinterest in scrutinizing Democratic nominees in 2009 matches closely with his insistence on dragging out the nomination process, potentially into March 2017, for Republicans this time around.
Here are three reasons Democrats gave for needing speedy confirmation of President Obama's nominees:
1. “As Quickly as We Possibly Could” During previous confirmation processes under President Obama, Democrats were eager to point out that “we have always had the tradition of moving these nominees as quickly as we possibly could,” as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said in 2015 about Loretta Lynch.
2. “For the Good of the American People” Democrats in 2008 couched their insistence on a swift confirmation process as something “for the good of the American people,” as Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) did regarding Department of Justice nominees. Leahy insisted on getting nominees in place “before the inauguration.”
3. “Prior to the President Actually Taking Office” Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) praised the idea of holding hearings “prior to the president actually taking office,” which he argued was important in allowing an administration “to get up and moving as quickly as possible.”
All of those reasons could apply to 2017 and President Trump's new administration as well, but Democrats have experienced a change of heart with the new administration and will drag out the process as long as possible. They have once again failed to learn one of the lessons of 2016: the American people are tired of obstructionism in Washington and have demanded new leadership.