Senate Rules Change on Confirmation Debate Time Advances

Yesterday, the Senate Rules Committee passed a change to the Senate rules that would prevent the Democrats' obstruction and delays of many of President Trump's judicial and executive nominees:

Currently, up to 30 hours of debate time is allowed before a nominee is approved for service. But if the new rule, which was introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and James Lankford (R-OK), is approved in the Senate floor, it will reduce the maximum time to just two hours. The rule would apply to just about all judicial and executive branch nominees, but not nominees for the Supreme Court or other “high level positions,” according to CNN. . . .

Blunt said that Democrats issued 128 filibusters on President Donald Trump’s nominees, more than any other president in history.

"Presidents deserve to have their teams in place," Blunt said. "Never before have we seen the level of obstruction in the confirmation process in the first two years of a presidency."

Majority Leader McConnell will likely bring the rules change to the Senate floor for a vote:  

“The real crisis here is the administration itself below the cabinet level has an enormous number of vacancies,” McConnell said. “Once we get to cloture on a number of these nominees they aren’t even controversial. So it’s pretty obvious the whole purpose is just to eat up floor time.”

If the Democrats oppose it and force a cloture vote on the rules change, Republicans could use the nuclear option (which is not quite so nuclear anymore after being used twice by both Republicans and Democrats) to pass the change with a simple majority vote.  Democrats would surely rail about the traditions of the Senate and how nominees are being pushed through without vetting (which actually happens during the committee process, not on the floor), without acknowledging that it is their obstruction that would force the rules change.  Leader McConnell has made every attempt to work with the Democrats on nominations, but they remain steadfast in their commitment to resisting President Trump and his ability to staff his administration and fill judicial vacancies.

In happier news, today William Barr was confirmed and sworn in as Attorney General of the United States.  Congratulations, Attorney General Barr!