Medill DC / Flickr Sen Richard Shelby R Ala...
Medill DC / Flickr

Here’s more of that “regular order” Mitch McConnell promised he would return to the Senate when he took over as majority leader.

GOP senators want to cut down the amount of debate time needed to confirm hundreds of the president’s picks, arguing Democrats are using the Senate’s rulebook to stonewall and slow-walk nominees and the GOP agenda. […]

“It merely shortens what is currently an unreasonably long process,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.[…]

Under Lankford’s resolution, post-cloture debate for non-Cabinet nominees would shrink from 30 hours down to eight hours. For district court nominees—whose decisions can be overturned by federal circuit courts or the Supreme Court—debate would be limited to two hours. […]

Lankford argued that with nominees able to eat up days of Senate floor time, the chamber is increasingly having to choose between confirming a president’s nominees or passing legislation.

“We have learned as a body that we are either going to do nominees, or we are going to do legislation, but we can’t do both. … The Senate cannot walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said.

Funnily enough, the Senate didn’t always have a problem handling nominations and legislation at the same time. Not until Mitch McConnell took over the majority and decided President Obama couldn’t have anything he wanted. The problem now isn’t the Democrats. They could certainly do legislation if they weren’t stepping all over one another’s feet and fighting all the time with House Republicans. There simply hasn’t been any kind of real legislative effort. Even with budget reconciliation which cut Democrats out of the process entirely, they failed to pass Trumpcare and had to sweat it to get a donor class tax cut bill passed—the problem was entirely the Republicans’!

Now this is what they want. Two hours for lifetime appointments. Two hours for whatever dregs of the legal profession Trump can dig up. This is after Chairman Chuck Grassley has determined that he doesn’t need to take Democrats’ opinions into consideration in the hearing process. They don’t need this because Democrats are standing in their way. They want this to pack the courts with as many odious Trump judges in as short a time as they can.

Which means just one thing. If they take these measures, if they decide that unqualified people should get lifetime appointments with the most slapdash of consideration, Democrats will have to do everything left in their power to stop them. They’ve got to shut the whole thing down.


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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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