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Solis Confirmation Delayed by Corrupt Practice

Posted by libhom Saturday, January 31, 2009

Orcinus has an excellent posting on the motives for the GOP trying to delay the nomination of Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis. The posting does an excellent job of addressing the merits of Ms. Solis, who certainly should be confirmed.

What I would like to focus on is the tactic being used to prevent her confirmation: anonymous holds. From the Pasadena Star News article referenced in Orcinus.

Democrats have announced that a Republican senator is using a parliamentary procedure to delay Solis' confirmation, the Washington paper Congress Daily reported Friday.

The anonymous hold - as the tactic is known - was placed because of Solis' support for "card check" legislation aimed at facilitating union organization and another bill regarding pay-discrimination, and for non-responsive answers during her confirmation hearing, according to GOP aides, the paper reported.

They also provide a description of the anonymous hold.
A senatorial hold is an informal practice that allows a single senator to anonymously delay a vote on a nomination or bill by telling Senate leadership of his or her opposition, and potential to filibuster efforts to move the legislation or nomination forward. The hold can, technically, be overridden by a vote of 60 senators, like any filibuster. However, such votes are rare as the senatorial hold is considered one of the prerogatives of each senator.

Setting aside the question of why only one Senator can block a nomination, there is an aspect of this that is so blatantly corrupt, it deserves discussion and condemnation.

There is no legitimate reason for these holds to be anonymous.

The Senate belongs to the American people, not just the Senators. The Senators work for the American people, not the other way around. Nominations for cabinet level agencies are the public's business. Conducting the process in a secretive fashion violates our right to know what is going on in our own Senate. Keeping legitimately classified information secret on national security grounds is one thing. But, engaging in a cover up on a matter that should be subject to the utmost public scrutiny is another.

This practice shows that the Senate considers the voters to be lower than the scum they scrape off of their shoes. There needs to be a major ethics push in Washington to clear out all of this corrupt nonsense.

 

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