I had heard grumblings that Republicans were holding up Obama nominations to key positions. So far this year, the most famous was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Her confirmation was held up for weeks until swine flu freaked the nation out, effectively forcing the hand of stalling Republicans. That’s just one story. What about all those positions you don’t hear about? Important positions like attorneys in charge of oversight or the person in charge of the census? No, they’re not sexy positions, but they’re important because without people in these positions, government can’t effectively operate. Also, these positions are important enough that they need congressional approval. Now, without these positions filled, staffs of individuals wait for marching orders from bosses that are held up in the confirmation process. The wheels of Government stand still.
Dawn Johnsen, an impressive nominee for assistant attorney general, has been on hold since mid-March. She has aroused Republican ire for her opposition to torture and her repudiation of extreme views of presidential power.
Robert Groves, the nominee for director of the Census Bureau, has been on hold since mid-May. He has been deemed suspect for his expertise in sampling, a statistical method for adjusting miscounts. Republicans charge that sampling could unfairly tilt the census results. That is highly debatable, but, more to the point, it is a nonissue. Mr. Groves testified at his confirmation hearing that sampling will not be used in the 2010 count. But the hold on Mr. Groves endures, enfeebling the Census Bureau in the critical final months before the count.
In all, there are 21 positions on hold. That’s 21 jobs that are not being done. 21 bosses who oversee hundreds of people who can’t do their jobs because they don’t have orders. The party that argues that Government can’t do anything right is preventing Government to work at all. If there is a legitimate reason to stop a nominee from reaching a post, then reasons should be given. Instead, most of these holds are “anonymous and unexplained, by Republican senators.”
This is chicken shit and it’s wrong. Either tell us why they’re being held up or let them do their jobs. It’s this self fulfilling prophecy dealt by Republicans. They tell us that Government doesn’t work. But it’s their obstruction that won’t allow Government to work. Therefore, let’s cut out the cancer, unload these obstructionists, and get some good people in that want to see our Government succeed for our benefit.