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According to White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler, who spoke with reporters on a conference call, on average Obama’s judicial nominees have waited four to five times as long as President George W. Bush’s nominees to be confirmed after receiving Judiciary Committee approval.
“Republicans have used every delay tactic available to them to slow the confirmation process down to nearly a halt and to block nominees who are unquestionably qualified,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the issue should not have to take much of the Senate’s time. “They could approve these judges in five minutes,” the Nevada Democrat said.
Reid added that the Senate continues to work on job creation and underscored that the transportation bill the Senate was poised to pass would create more jobs than the House small-business measure.
The House measure “is a nice bill; I like it,” Reid said. “But it’s not a major job creation bill, as Sen. McConnell said this morning. It’ll help people, we hope, take some of that money they have in the banks and invest it. That’s what we want done. And we’ve said we’re going to move to that.”
Democrats have offered, on the Senate floor today, to take up the House jobs bill — after taking a pounding from Republicans to do so, according to a senior Democratic aide. The offer also includes an agreement to hold a vote on an amendment to the bill that would boost the lending limit for the Export-Import Bank and to move to the judicial nominee issue afterward.
But Republicans have not accepted the offer because they argue that voting on 17 judges is not the best use of time.
“It’s a question of priorities,” a senior GOP aide said, adding that Americans want Congress to focus on job creation.