Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republican Senators have had enough of the obstruction by Senate Democrats led by Chuck Schumer. Here are a few of the numbers:
- Until 1968, cloture had never been required for any nomination. By 1978, it had been required for two (2).
- During the first two years of the last six (6) presidential administrations before President Trump (dating to 1977), 24 total cloture votes had to be held on nominations. The first two years of President Trump’s administration: 128 cloture votes had to be held on nominations.
- These cloture votes are not for “controversial nominees.” The list includes 42 different executive branch positions that were forced to endure cloture votes for the first time ever, including: Assistant Secretaries and Agency General Counsels.
The solution is S. Res. 50, which will help to limit the abuse of power by Senate Democrats on nominees by only allowing 2 hours of debate for: district court positions, ambassadors and everyone who is not nominated for the Supreme Court, circuit court, Cabinet-level executive positions, and a few commissions and boards.
Leader McConnell used the railway board as a prime example of the practice.
To be clear, the lion’s share of all this is not controversial, high-profile figures. In most cases they are unambiguously well-qualified nominees for critical but lower-profile jobs. For example, it took more than six months and several tragic railroad accidents that made national news before a minority of Senators would allow us to confirm the president’s nominee to head the Federal Railroad Administration. Six months and railroad accidents to get us to confirm the president’s nominee to head the Federal Railroad Administration.
He’d worked in railroads as an engineer, manager, and executive for 45 years. Our colleagues on the Commerce Committee voice-voted him out of committee. And, actually, when Democrats finally allowed his nomination to come to the floor, he was confirmed here by voice vote. But despite the fact that nobody actually objected to the nominee, this important job was held empty for six long months. Obstruction for obstruction’s sake. It’s the same story with even the least controversial judicial nominees.
Former RNLA leaders nominated for noncontroversial positions are among those being obstructed. Leader McConnell is right: it is time to get back to normal and allow good people to serve in the government.
So I urge every one of my colleagues -- let’s get the Senate back to the normal, historical pattern for handling presidents’ nominations. Let’s give President Trump as well as all future presidents a functional process for building their administrations. Let’s give the American people the governments they actually elected. And let’s seize this chance to do so through bipartisan regular order that we’re pursuing here, both in committee and now here on the floor. The status quo is unsustainable for the Senate and for the country. It is unfair to this president and to future presidents of either party. It cannot stand -- and it will not stand.