GOP Still Mad Over Nominees

Posted June 5, 2008 at 11:09am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday morning that he would continue procedural tactics to delay action on the global warming bill unless Democrats consider President Bush’s judicial nominations.

McConnell made good on that threat within hours by refusing to give consent for Senate committees to meet while the Senate is in session. Under the chamber’s rules, committees must receive unanimous consent to continue meeting two hours after the Senate has begun it’s session. That request is usually granted, but objections have been made in the past in order to disrupt Senate business and make points about other issues.

One day after Republicans forced the clerk to read the entire 491-page climate change bill on the Senate floor, McConnell signaled that more delay is in the offing.

“Breaking your word is a serious matter and has consequences. … And frankly, we’re not finished what we’re doing,” McConnell told reporters Thursday morning.

Republicans have accused Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of breaking his promise to vote on the appointment of three circuit court judges before the Memorial Day recess. The Senate has only voted on one.

As debate continues on the global warming bill, GOP aides expect that Reid will file cloture and limit amendments on the legislation. Such a move would further irritate Republicans, likely pushing them to continue any procedural tactics they have in their back pockets.

Late Wednesday night, after the reading of the global warming legislation dragged on for several hours, the Senate approved the nomination for the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, along with nominations to the Institute of Peace, and the Tennessee Valley Authority in GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (Tenn.) home state.

Lawmakers also agreed to push through some district court judges, but Republicans believe that does not go far enough.

Republicans expressed frustration that there was no agreement on moving circuit court judges that were included in the initial compromise between Reid and McConnell before the Memorial Day recess.

On Wednesday, Reid spokesman Jim Manley pointed the finger back at Republicans in arguing that the GOP did not want to consider two nominees to the circuit court in Michigan, which would have brought the number of judges considered to three.

“Unfortunately, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee objected to expedited consideration of the Michigan nominees. As a result, it was impossible to have the Senate consider these two additional nominees before the recess, despite Sen. Reid’s best efforts,” Manley said. “Any successful deal requires good faith by both sides — in this case, unfortunately, our willingness was not matched by the other side.”