Senate Democrats fought back today against years of Republican blockades and obstruction of President Barack Obama’s executive branch and judicial nominations by voting to change Senate rules to guarantee an up or down vote on most nominees. Says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:
Time and again, Republican senators have put political obstruction ahead of what’s best for America. Their unprecedented abuse of the Senate rules is a naked attempt to nullify the last election by denying President Obama his picks for critical judicial and executive branch posts. But the Constitution does not allow a minority of one house of Congress to hold the other two branches of government hostage. We applaud the leadership of Senator Reid to uphold democracy by breaking through the gridlock in order to address the pressing needs of our country.
Filibusters will still be allowed on Supreme Court nominees and on legislation.
In their most recent obstruction, Senate Republicans blocked votes on three nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and have blocked Obama’s nomination of Mel Watt as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. (Read more here.)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says:
It's time to get the Senate working again. Not for the good of the current Democratic majority or some future Republican majority, but for the good of the United States of America. It's time to change. It's time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.