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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

A robbery in progress -- on the floor of the US Senate

by: Jay Stevens

Fri Feb 05, 2010 at 07:38:42 AM MST


Oh my!

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold" on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold...

According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama's nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track. The two programs Shelby wants to move forward or else:

- A $40 billion contract to build air-to-air refueling tankers. From CongressDaily: "Northrop/EADS team would build the planes in Mobile, Ala., but has threatened to pull out of the competition unless the Air Force makes changes to a draft request for proposals."...

- An improvised explosive device testing lab for the FBI. From CongressDaily: "[Shelby] is frustrated that the Obama administration won't build" the center, which Shelby earmarked $45 million for in 2008. The center is due to be based "at the Army's Redstone Arsenal."

As Ezra notes, that a Senator can do this reinforces the fact that the US Senate is the world's worst legislative body. Kossak mjoan thinks it's time for recess appointments. Josh Marshall thinks that this story might blow up in the Senate's face:

In this case, we're not dealing with a stand on partisanship or ideology or simple political shiv play which I guess can each be respected in their own place. This is more like just a stick up. Gimme my money and I'll give you your Senate back! Worse than a squeegee man and not much better than a bank robber, Shelby is shutting down the president's ability to appoint anyone to anything until he gets his way. In a sense Shelby's gambit is little different from what countless other senators of both parties have done in the past, using the senate rules to get the White House's attention to pry some money free from the federal government. But the scale is unheard and the moment is different. The only mystery about this one is which is more outrageous -- Shelby's hold or the fact that the rest of the senators of both parties allow it.

Perhaps, like so many other times, this will be today's outrage that is the new normal by tomorrow. But this are volatile times. And I wonder if this isn't the live wire in the gasoline.

I hope it is. That a supra-majority is required to pass any legislation is ridiculous, especially has the Republican party has transformed the filibuster into a pure political tool of obstruction. Certainly the Constitution intended no such thing. (But isn't it funny how the "constitutionalists" never talk about the filibuster?) Hopefully this is the story to bring the Senate's quirks front and center into the country's consciousness...  

Jay Stevens :: A robbery in progress -- on the floor of the US Senate
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Media should be all over this! (0.00 / 0)
But not a peep.  Funny how the biggest outrages are ignored by the networks and papers.  OK, it's not funny.  

Wait! (0.00 / 0)
Are you saying profit has somehow injected itself into governing?  How could this have happened?

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