Senate: Stop It.
“President Barack Obama’s economic advisers are increasingly concerned about the U.S. Senate’s delay in confirming the nominations of Austan Goolsbee and Cecilia Rouse to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Without Senate confirmation, the two economists are barred from advising the president as the administration tackles the worst financial crisis in 70 years and tries to advance the spending plan Obama submitted to Congress last week.
“It’s frustrating,” said Christina Romer, who heads the three-member CEA. “These are hard economic times and we desperately want to get them through the Senate and definitely on the job.”
“They are both superb economists,” she said. “I can’t imagine what the holdup is.””
Here’s her answer:
“A Senate Democratic aide said Republicans had relayed some concerns about the nominations that the administration and party lawmakers are working to address. Under Senate rules, any senator can block consideration of a nominee.
“There are some objections on the Republican side that we are trying to deal with,” said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid.”
As Josh said: Please Grow Up.
Meanwhile, Sen. Robert Menendez and other anonymous Senators have blocked two of Obama’s science advisors. This isn’t just bad for science, it’s bad for the economic stimulus package, which contains a lot of science funding:
“The holdup could slow timely science and environmental policy work between Congress and the administration, particularly the spending of roughly $21.5 billion dedicated to science in the economic recovery package.”
I can see the argument for allowing filibusters. I can see allowing individual Senators to hold a nomination up for a day or two, to make sure that they have time to present any concerns they have about a nominee to their colleagues. But there is no justification at all for allowing one Senator to hold nominations up indefinitely.
This is a rule that should exist, if at all, only in a Senate made up entirely of serious people with a genuine sense of responsibility — people who would not put holds on science advisors “to get Senate leaders’ attention for a matter related to Cuba.” Since we obviously do not have that Senate, this rule should be scrapped, and these nominees should be brought up for votes immediately.