Monday, July 15, 2013

Senate Showdown Over Rules & Presidential Nominees

Jul 15: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are leading their members into battle this evening at 6:00 PM at a joint-special caucus for all Senators. The subject will be a proposal by Senate Reid to require a simple majority vote, up or down, for the approval of a Presidential nominee. Currently, Senate rules provide for a filibuster and cloture vote procedure requiring 60 votes for approval. Senator McConnell said the proposal was "one of the most consequential changes to the United States Senate in the history of our nation."

    In a  fact sheet, Senator Reid points out that, "At the current rate, President Obama will face more filibusters on Executive Branch nominees than every other American president combined. Before President Obama took office, there had been a total of 20 filibusters on executive nominations in the entire history of the United States, from George Washington to George W. Bush. Since President Obama took office, there have been 16 filibusters. At this rate, there will be nearly 30 by the end of his second term. Executive nominees who are ready to be confirmed by the Senate have been pending an average of 260 days – more than 8 months – since they were first nominated."

    Senator Reid said, "For centuries, a President's nominees received simple up-or-down votes in the Senate, except in extraordinary circumstances. The change contemplated by Senate Democrats would simply restore the Senate's long tradition of delivering simple up-or-down votes for Executive nominees. Senators would still be free to debate and vote against nominations they oppose." Senator Reid said his proposal only applies to Presidential nominees, not legislation or other matters.
    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor last Friday that Democrats were  "concocting a phony crisis over three unlawfully appointed nominees to alter the rules of the Senate."  He said, "Senate Democrats are gearing up today to make one of the most consequential changes to the United States Senate in the history of our nation. And I guarantee you, it is a decision that, if they actually go through with it, they will live to regret. It's an open secret at this point that Big Labor and others on the Left are putting a lot of pressure on Senate Democrats to change the rules of the Senate -- and to do so by breaking the rules. That would violate every protection of minority rights that have defined the United States Senate for as long as anyone can remember.

    "Let me assure you: this Pandora's Box, once opened, will be utilized again and again by future majorities -- and it will make the meaningful consensus-building that has served our nation so well a relic of the past. The short-term issue that's triggered this dangerous and far-reaching proposal is simple enough: the Hard-Left is so convinced that every one of the President's nominees should just sail through the confirmation process, that they're willing to do permanent, irreversible damage to this institution in order to get their way. And they've apparently convinced the Majority Leader to do their bidding as they hijack the Senate. . ."

    Access the fact sheet from Senator Reid (click here). Access Senator McConnell's complete floor statement (click here). [#All]