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Obstruction In The Senate: It’s Not Just For Republicans

by Stuart Shapiro

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has a hold on the Obama appointee to take over the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew.  Her demand: lift the drilling moratorium.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and other top administration officials have been pleading with Landrieu (D-LA) to release her hold on the nomination of Jack Lew to be President Obama’s new Office of Management and Budget director. But Landrieu says she won’t budge until the moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling is lifted.

There is so much wrong with this, it is hard to know where to start.  Lew has nothing to do with the moratorium.  OMB has nothing to do with the moratorium.  The hold allows Republicans to say, hey we’re not the only ones abusing Senate procedure to pursue selfish goals.  Lew was OMB director before and would likely be confirmed with northward of 90 votes.  Can anyone explain how allowing one Senator to hold up an appointment is anything but starkly undemocratic?  If Lyndon Johnson were majority leader, this would not happen (of course it brings a smile to me to wonder whether Johnson would temper his language around female Senators).

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart Shapiro Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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