Yesterday, I wrote about Claire McCaskill’s war on the secret holds that Senate Republicans have placed on President Obama’s nominees for judicial and government positions – just one of the ways these petty thugs are trying to hinder the administration from achieving its goals. True to her promise, McCaskill, joined by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), returned to the floor of the Senate last night to ask for unanimous consent to vote on 75 more stalled nominations.
The upshot? Egregious Republican stalling. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) came to the floor and objected to the request for votes on behalf of unnamed, presumably Republican colleagues.
Since a motion for unanimous consent to vote on a nominee requires the Senator who placed the hold to identify him or herself, and send a letter justifying the hold to be published in the Congressional Record, Senator McCaskill promised that:
… she would be watching the Congressional Record and contacting both parties’ leadership offices to track which Members come forward to reveal their holds in accordance with the 2007 rule. McCaskill said she hopes to either reveal the sources of anonymous holds – or end them all together.
“Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll learn who it is in the Senate that doesn’t want them to be nominated, who it is that doesn’t want them to be confirmed,” she said.
… to pressure Senators “to speak out about their objections so that we can answer them and move forward and get these people to work.”
How effective this will be remains to be seen – what we have now may well be a “let the games begin” scenario. According to Ryan Grim and Ben Craw of The Huffington Post, the Republicans who placed the holds:
…may be able to wiggle out of going public by dropping their holds and picking them right back up, or teaming up with other Republicans and swapping the holds back and forth. It’s never been tried before, so where this is heading is anybody’s guess.
At least in Senator McCaskill we’ve got a dogged participant in the game representing our interests. And perhaps we can exert a little pressure too – phone calls to Senator Bond to express our displeasure with this type of obstructionism perhaps? Some letters to the editors of Missouri papers recognizing Senator McCaskill’s efforts to keep government running, and giving a thumbs down to the Republican performance? Just asking …