February 11, 2010

Is the gridlock finally breaking loose in DC?

Posted in GOP, government pork spending, Obama administration tagged , , , at 10:42 pm by realitytax

President Obama’s statement following action by the Senate to confirm twenty-seven nominees:

“Today, the United States Senate confirmed 27 of my high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months.At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination. In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process.

Instead, many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator’s state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people.

And so on Tuesday, I told Senator McConnell that if Republican senators did not release these holds, I would exercise my authority to fill critically-needed positions in the federal government temporarily through the use of recess appointments. This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate.

While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.”

It’s amazing to many to realize that it was one Senator, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, on a quest for a Richard "earmark" Shelby embarassed the GOP massive earmark for his home state, that was able to suspend all progress in filling key leadership roles. It’s no wonder some in the GOP think government can’t be effective, if their own party can’t be relied on to let so many agencies have leaders — Americans were stunned to learn that the objections weren’t about qualifications, but rather a partisan ploy that amounted to demanding a kick-back for Alabama.

There’s nothing inherently wrong about earmarks – they allow for quick resolutions to funding decisions that don’t require much, if any, debate. They can be used to replace a fallen bridge, or abused to fund a pork-barrel project that benefits a key constituent or city… but Shelby’s audacity has backfired, and he’s walking back from his stand after embarrassing his party — claiming after the fact that it was just to get attention.

Well, Senator, you’ve drawn attention, your bluff has been called, and people around the country are starting to call your Grand Old Party the Republi-can’ts.

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