Using arcane Senate rules that allow individual lawmakers to grind presidential appointments to a halt, the Treasury Department has seen a number of posts go unfilled for long stretches over unrelated complaints from GOP Senators. The holds are anonymous and thus their reasons are often not made public, but The Washington Post finds that the holdup centered on issues that were unaffected by the appointments in question, including a plan in Canada to ban fruit-flavored cigarettes and a dispute over online gambling. After President Obama directly challenged the GOP to speed up the process in February, over two dozen appointees were confirmed, but Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who also blocked unemployment benefits earlier this year, still has holds on two senior Treasury officials.
Tag Archives: Senate Republicans
Thanks to the 2006 and 2008 elections, conservatives no longer control the American government. They do, however, continue to essentially control the American media. As a case in point, you’ve probably heard that part of the Obama administration’s plan to pass health reform is to use the budget reconciliation process. The reason you’ve probably heard is that the press has been obsessed with the topic, repeatedly labeling it a “controversial” move that would “ram” legislation via an end-run around the normal legislative process.”
In fact, though most bills do not go through the reconciliation process—typically because their subject matter makes them ineligible—the process has been invoked frequently since 1980. And the reason it’s remained obscure until 2010 is that until the health-care debate, the press never saw fit to go into conniptions over congressional procedure.
Some of the mainstream media coverage of the reconciliation issue has been bad. Some of it, like this excellent NPR story, has been good.
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