Saturday, February 4, 2017

Impotent Senate Dems Walk Out on Confirmation Votes

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Impotent Senate Dems Walk Out on Confirmation Votes

Powerless to kill Trump nominations, Democrats force delays with unprecedented obstruction

Powerless to stop the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees and failing to claim a scalp so far, Democrats essentially picked up their ball and went home Tuesday.

Senate Democrats boycotted committee meetings where votes were supposed to be held on the nominations of Steve Mnuchin for treasury secretary and Tom Price to run the Department of Health and Human Services. Since at least one Democrat must be present for committee votes to take place, they had to be postponed.

“I’m very disappointed that they treated the committee that way, and me, personally, that way.”

Although there was no boycott at the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democrats also forced a delay in the confirmation vote of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general by using a Senate rule that discourages committee meetings later in the day. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said the committee would reconvene Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., with an expected vote sometime between 11 a.m. and noon.

“I’m very disappointed that they treated the committee that way, and me, personally, that way,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told CNN. “At least call me and say they can’t do it … The reason they didn’t call me is they have to feel ashamed.”

John Malcolm, a former deputy assistant attorney general who now serves as director of The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, said the moves are unprecedented at the federal level. He said it calls to mind efforts by Democratic legislators in Wisconsin several years ago to block legislation affecting unions. Democrats literally fled the state, out of reach of state troopers, to keep the vote from happening.

In previous times, Senate Democrats would have had an enormous bargaining chip to win concessions or block nominees — the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to cut off debate. But former Senate leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who retired after the 2016 election, eliminated the filibuster for most appointments.

Now, gamesmanship is all the party has left.

"These are childish antics," Malcolm told LifeZette.

Malcolm said slow-walking the Sessions vote, in particular, is irresponsible given the importance of the agency.

They're being obstructionist … They don't want Jeff Sessions there, so they're scoring political points with their constituents and denying the department of political leadership," he said.

Grassroots activists urged Americans to call their senators. William Gheen, founder of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said supporters of Sessions should not become complacent.

"That's a very dangerous way to think," he said.

Gheen blasted Senate Democrats.

"They're making it very clear they're willing to put the health and safety of America at risk for their socialist agenda," he said.

Gheen said he worries that Senate Republicans who oppose Trump and Sessions on immigration policy, like John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), may flip on the nomination if Democrats manage to draw it out long enough.

Graham gave no indication on Tuesday that he is wavering, however.

"Jeff will follow the law no matter what his policy opinions are," he said at the committee hearing. "I have no doubt about that … He is a good, decent man, who will follow the law as he sees it, who will try to take the country down a different road than President Obama and his attorney general. And that's what the whole election about. You can't have it both ways."

Grassley said senators know firsthand that Sessions is a man of man of integrity who will enforce laws, even if he voted against them as senator.

Senate Democrats Escalate Historic ObstructionTrump has 10 fewer Cabinet-level officials on day 11 than Obama, 13 fewer than Bush

"Because we know him to be a man of his word, we know that he will uphold all laws equally without regard to person, just as he pledged," he said.

Democrats on the committee expressed doubt about that, though. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Californian who is the ranking Democrat on the committee, tried to make an issue of.....Continue Reading:>>>>>>Here

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