Oct 31, 2013
The U.S. Senate confirmed several key nominations this week, including Richard Griffin as NLRB general counsel and Tom Wheeler as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
But the nominations of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Administration and Patricia Millet to fill one of three vacancies to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit were blocked. Both failed to get the 60-vote supermajority needed to proceed to an up or down vote.
That prompted CWA and coalition partners to call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use the procedural motion that's been used 17 times since 1978 to move these nominees to a vote. Leader Reid must take any action necessary to move these nominations forward. The Senate can vote for or against a nomination, but the president's nominees all deserve a vote.
CWA activists are contacting their Senators, calling for an end to Senate obstruction and an up-or-down vote on executive and judicial nominees. Call 1-866-937-4359 and follow the prompts. Tell your Senators that we need a fully functioning democracy, not obstruction.
Just as earlier this year, when the minority party senators tried to block confirmation of the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because they didn't want that agency to function, the minority is now obstructing Watt's nomination because they don't like the mission of the FHFA. Watt is a highly qualified member of Congress from North Carolina.
Similarly, on the floor, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said the work load of the court isn't sufficient to warrant filling the three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court. Yet, the D.C. Circuit Court is the second most important court in the nation, following the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last summer, CWA and a coalition of groups pushed for Senate confirmation of all five NLRB members, as well as for Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Gina McCarthy at Environmental Protection Agency and other key executive nominations.
Then, Leader Reid was ready to invoke the procedural motion necessary to get these nominations to a vote. A group of Republican senators agreed to stop their obstructionist tactics and move the nominations forward.