Democrats are in revenge mode. They’re still peeved Republicans didn’t confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, whining about how he was “treated.” The finger of blame for that should be directed at President Obama. When Justice Scalia passed away in February, Republicans immediately said they would not consider a replacement for him in an election year and shouldn’t bother nominating one. Obama went ahead, regardless, falsely claiming the GOP had a constitutional duty to give Garland hearings and a vote. Republicans refused, and now Democrats want pay payback.
So they plan on making it a difficult process for Trump to have his cabinet nominees confirmed:
“They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”
Senate Democrats can’t block Trump’s appointments, which in all but one case need only 51 votes for confirmation. But they can turn the confirmation process into a slog.
Any individual senator can force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold procedural votes on nominees. Senior Democrats said a series of such votes are likely for many of Trump’s picks.
Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year. The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum.
Poor Sherrod. He’s “fuming.” Also, which nominees is Brown arguing are not qualified?
Thankfully, one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin is speaking up:
Informed that Democrats might hold up Sessions and other nominations past Jan. 20, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia responded: “That’s just bulls**t.”
“My God, I think we should have an attorney general in place on Jan. 20. I sure do believe that,” added Manchin, one of five Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 in states that overwhelmingly supported Trump.
He’s right. Democrats don’t seem to have learned their lesson despite all of the losses they’ve suffered since Barack Obama was first elected in 2008. Other Democratic seats up for re-election in 2018 besides Manchin are:
Bill Nelson – Florida, Joe Donnelly – Indiana, Claire McCaskill – Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp – North Dakota, Tim Kaine – Virginia, Jon Tester – Montana.
Democrats should tread carefully lest they want to lose even more Senate seats.