A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A single senator should not hold the Federal government hostage

Congress Daily reports that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has placed a "blanket hold" on at least 70 of President Obama's nominations until he receives over $40 billion worth of earmarks for his state.

Shelby holds are leaving empty chairs in the Pentagon.

"Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has placed a blanket hold on more than 70 Obama administration nominees because of home state concerns." Using a legislative tactic that has been practiced by both Political Parties, for Legislation and nominees for reasons unrelated to their qualifications.

Senate rules allow members to place a hold on nominees -- to block their consideration by the chamber -- at any time for any reason. Such holds are often placed privately, making it exceedingly difficult for those outside the Senate to track their use, and they can be a powerful tool to influence the executive branch.

On February 5th Rachel Maddow reported on the hold placed by Senator Shelby on President Obama’s appointees until his federal earmarks for Alabama are addressed.

Martha N. Johnson tapped to lead the General Services Administration. She has waited since June for a full Senate vote. Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) placed a hold on Johnson's nomination in July as he urged the GSA to build a new federal building in Kansas City. "The senator is far more concerned about the 1,000 federal employees in Kansas City being held hostage than someone who is highly qualified for the Position. Nine months ago, the White House sent the nominee for GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, to the Senate for its consideration.

Today, 2-04-2010, she was finally given a vote and was overwhelmingly approved by a margin of 94-2 [Update: make that 96-0 after the remaining two switched their votes]. What happened in between was a perfect example of why Americans are so frustrated with Washington. So I ask myself this question. If the Nominee has not changed, what happened to all the opposition to her from the Republican Party???

Bond's stunt cost the government to spend 180 million dollars unnecessarily.





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