Giving obstructionism a bad name

GIVING OBSTRUCTIONISM A BAD NAME…. Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in combat while serving in Iraq, is the head of veterans affairs for the state of Illinois, and President Obama’s nominee for assistant secretary of veterans affairs. Duckworth had a nominating hearing on Wednesday, a vote was scheduled for Thursday, and a swearing-in event for Friday.

All of that has been pushed off, however, because the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs wants to feel important.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is delaying the nomination vote and swearing-in of injured Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth for a top post in the Veterans Affairs administration.

His actions angered some veterans groups Friday.

“Senator Burr has had plenty of time to ask questions of her,” Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org, an organization of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, said in a statement. “Senator Burr is only hurting American veterans with this nonsense. He should stop playing petty partisan games, stop needling the White House for the sheer fun of it and grow up.”

Burr still has questions about Duckworth’s nomination, his office said.

What kind of questions? Burr’s office wouldn’t say.

This is hardly isolated. As Ryan Powers explained this morning, “Conservatives in Congress and in the media are attempting to block or delay a growing number of critical nominees for what amount to ideological witch hunts and self-interested horse-trading. As the President attempts to deal with the significant legal and logistical questions surrounding two wars, closing Guantanamo Bay, and caring for our nation’s veterans, the people Obama has picked to assist him with such issues are being forced to wait in the wings.”

In some cases, these are positions that hardly need Senate confirmation in the first place. In all the cases, we’re talking about qualified nominees, ready to fill important posts, and who already have more than enough votes secured to win confirmation.

Burr and a few too many of his Republican colleagues are blocking and delaying good people simply because they can. It’s more than a little frustrating to watch.

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