Reid Ignores the Facts
All Americans and all states deserve to have their voices heard in the U.S. Senate, regardless of party affiliation. Majority Leader Reid insists on damaging this unique legislative body by changing the rules to shut the minority party – the Americans and states it represents – out of the Senate’s constitutional advice and consent role. He has decided to do this on the flimsy, and false, premise that President Obama’s nominees have not been treated fairly. Worse yet, his decision comes after twice committing to not use the nuclear option.
1,560 confirmations vs. 4 rejections
If Senate Democrats insist on forever changing how the Senate operates, it will not be because Senate Republicans have forced their hand. Republicans have worked with Democrats to confirm 1,560 executive nominees over the past four and a half years. Of all the nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, only four have been rejected.
- During the 111th Congress, the Senate confirmed 920 nominees and rejected one: Craig Becker to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
- During the 112th Congress, the Senate confirmed 574 nominees and rejected two: Goodwin Liu to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit; and Richard Cordray to be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- During the 113th Congress, the Senate has confirmed 66 nominees and rejected one: Caitlin Joan Halligan to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the D.C. Circuit.
Obama’s cabinet nominees are moving faster than previous Presidents’
According to the Congressional Research Service, President Obama’s cabinet nominees are, on average, moving from announcement to confirmation faster than the two previous Presidents.
- President Obama’s cabinet nominees have waited 51 days on average.
- For President G.W. Bush, the average wait was 52 days; and
- For President Clinton, the average wait was 55 days.
The Senate has confirmed judges
The Senate has confirmed 199 of President Obama’s nominees to lower court judgeships. Only two nominees have been defeated. That’s a success rate of 99 percent. In fact, during the 112th Congress, the Senate confirmed more judges than any Congress since the 103rd Congress.
This year alone, the Senate’s confirmation of lower court judges far outpaces confirmation rates for President Bush’s second term.
- President Obama has 28 judges confirmed just since his second inauguration, including:
- 7 circuit court judges;
- 19 district court judges; and
- 2 judges to other Article III courts.
- As of July 11, 2005, President G.W. Bush had 10 judges confirmed, including:
- 6 circuit court judges; and
- 4 district court judges.
Finally, Democrats should remember that the Senate has already confirmed more judges this year than were confirmed in the entire first year of President Bush’s second term.
Destroying the Senate as we know it
Majority Leader Reid’s plan is based on false premises, not on facts. Democrats would do permanent damage to the Senate for immediate and temporary political gain. And the Majority Leader has acknowledged the harm such change to the Senate rules would bring about.
“The nuclear option was the most important issue I’d ever worked on in my entire career because if that had gone forward, it would have destroyed the Senate as we know it.” – Majority Leader Reid, March 2009
There is not a problem with President Obama’s nominees being treated fairly and in a timely fashion. And there is not a problem of his nominees not being confirmed. Senate Democrats should remember their prior commitments and abandon their plan before irreparably destroying the Senate.
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