Reid Blames GOP for Delay in Advancing Obama’s Nominations

Posted June 10, 2009 at 9:38am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blamed Republicans on Wednesday for holding up more than two dozen of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominations.Reid ticked off a list of nominees awaiting confirmation during an address on the Senate floor. And he called out the GOP for holding hostage the nomination of Vermont-native William Sessions to lead the U.S. Sentencing Commission out of anger over Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) management of his panel.The Majority Leader added that he has heard from Cabinet members, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, over the backlog of nominees. He made an appeal to his Senate colleagues to move quickly.“I would hope that people would search their conscience and try to get these done,— Reid said, adding that procedural motions he could employ to clear the nominees would eat up too much floor time. “It would take until the summer until we finish the July recess and beyond for us to get this done, filing cloture on every one of these. I hope it doesn’t come to that.—As Reid griped over the lack of movement on a host of executive nominations, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went to the floor to criticize Democrats for rushing the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.“Sen. Leahy’s decision to rush Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing is puzzling,— McConnell said.Leahy announced Tuesday that the Judiciary Committee would begin confirmation hearings on July 13. Republicans balked at the timing, saying it was too soon and would not provide them enough time to vet the nomination.“They want the shortest confirmation timeline in recent memory for someone with the longest judicial record in recent memory,— McConnell charged. “This violates basic standards of fairness, and it prevents Senators from carrying out one of their most solemn duties — a thorough review of the president’s nominee to a lifetime position on the highest court in the land. The decision to short-circuit that process is regrettable and unnecessary.—