Nov 21, 2013
Washington, D.C. -- Today, Senate Majority Leader Reid and nearly every Democratic Senator have acted to end Senate gridlock and obstruction on Presidential nominations.
The Communications Workers of America commends Leader Reid for his leadership in ensuring that the President’s executive and judicial nominations get an up-or-down vote. Today’s Senate action restores an important principle of our democracy.
The Senate majority’s procedural action means that President Obama’s nominations will get confirmation votes.
This procedure isn’t new and there’s nothing “nuclear” or revolutionary about it. Instead, it is the Republicans’ recent strategy of preventing up or down votes on qualified nominees without respect to their merits that has been a radical departure from Senate history.
Republicans have been blocking votes on qualified executive and judicial nominees as part of a larger strategy to undermine laws and agencies they disagree with, and to deny President Obama his constitutional authority to fill vacancies.
After months of Republican empty promises and broken agreements, Leader Reid had no other choice but to put forward the procedural motion. The Senate has changed application of the rules at least 18 times in the last 35 years, though not necessarily regarding nominations. In 1980, then Majority Leader Byrd used the exact same procedure to eliminate filibusters on a motion to proceed to nominations.
“The Senate action re-enforces the intent of Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which clearly states that the Senate’s obligation of advice and consent is based on majority support, not super majority support. This is a good first step toward restoring a Senate that functions as an integral part of our democracy,” said CWA President Larry Cohen.
CWA has been working for Senate rules reform as a convener of the Democracy Initiative, an organization representing 20 million members that has been working on rules reform and other democracy issues.