This poor child just wants his stuff!
Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby has placed a unilateral hold on all of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominees in an apparent protest over home state concerns.
Shelby is frustrated over the Pentagon’s bidding process for air-to-air refueling tankers, which could lead to the creation of jobs in Mobile, Ala. And spokesman Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement the senator is also “deeply concerned” that the administration “will not release” funds already appropriated for a Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center to be built in Alabama.
“If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place,” Graffeo said.
Shelby’s hold doesn’t block the Obama nominees entirely, but it makes it impossible for Democrats to clear them without at least some Republican help. With Shelby’s hold in place, Democrats will need to cobble together 60 votes for a cloture motion on each nominee. And with Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s swearing-in Thursday night, the Democrats no longer have 60 votes on their own.
Shelby has informed Reid that he would block all nominees on the Senate’s executive calendar, which amounts to more than 70 of the president’s choices.
What’s an earmark? Well kids, an earmark is a legislative provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees. For instance, in 2009, Senator Richard C. Shelby sponsored or co-sponsored 160 earmarks totalling $322,378,750 in fiscal year 2009 ranking 9th out of 100 senators. He’s clearly working it.
At the White House Friday, press secretary Robert Gibbs said Shelby’s hold is a perfect example of “what’s wrong” with Washington, calling it “the poster child” for “how this town works.”
“It boggles the mind to hold up qualified nominees for positions that are needed because he didn’t get two earmarks,” Gibbs said.
Graffeo said Shelby “has made the administration aware” of his concerns and “is willing to discuss them at any time.”
A healthy democracy has vocal opposition. However, criticizing a man’s job performance while simultaneously hamstringing his ability to do the job is not really in that spirit. Ladies + Gentlemen, Senator Richard Shelby.