Suddenly it turns out that the Senate CAN confirm administration nominations after all
So it turns out that sometimes, at least, if you push back against sociopathic, America-hating Republican obstructionists, they give way.
Today by a 71-29 vote the Senate voted to proceed with the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray is already serving as the bureau's first director, on a recess appointment that would have expired next January.
The Cordray nomination, you'll recall, had been pending for two years, with a sizable cadre of Republicans committed to never confirming a director for the CFPB while they continue their efforts to destroy it. To those Republicans, the very idea of protecting consumers is anathema. The role of consumers to the corporatist stooges, is to be bent, mutilated, and where possible raped. In the corporatist system those slimeballs are paid well to set consumers up as patsies.
And now after those two years, the implacable opposition to allowing a vote on the Cordray nomination dissolves in a 71-29 vote, in which 17 Republicans joined the 54 Democrats and independents. I suppose there is some sentiment that those 17 GOP-ers are to be congratulated. I would suggest that rather they should be forced to return every penny in salary and perks, not to mention fund-raising, collected over every day that they prevented the Cordray nomination from moving forward, now that they have acknowledged that instead of doing their job they were suing some toxic, rapacious agenda.
The Cordray unblockage was made possible by a deal arrived at early today between the warring Senate parties. The Washington Post's Aaron Blake reported:
It's not entirely a return to sanity, because the same worthless-garbage affronts to sanity remain on the job, ready to resume their role as America-hating obstructionists at any second. Still, it does seem finally to have occurred to them that they have something to lose after all these years of behaving like tin-pot Latin American oligarchs.
Here's how ThinkProgress's Progress Report reported the deal:
After a three and a half hour meeting last night and ongoing negotiations through this morning, senators announced a deal to avert changing the Senate rules. Nevertheless, the deal represents a huge victory for Democrats and an almost unconditional surrender on the part of Senate Republicans.
Here’s the main elements of the deal:
• The president’s nominees to head the Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Export-Import Bank, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be confirmed without delay.
• Two of the president’s current nominees to the National Labor Relations Board will be withdrawn; however, Republicans agree in advance to confirm any two nominees of the president’s choosing before the Senate recesses in August.
• Democrats retain the right to revisit changing the filibuster rules on executive branch nominees at any time should Republicans once again begin a blockade.
Interestingly, Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) had offered a deal last night that would have also confirmed the current group of seven nominees, but would’ve required Democrats to promise to never again threaten to change the rules. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) wisely rejected this offer in favor of the offer outlined above made by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and a group of breakaway Republicans.
Real progress has already been made as a result of this deal. CFPB nominee Richard Cordray had been prevented from receiving an up-or-down vote by Senate Republicans for 730 days. Following today’s deal, a cloture motion on his nomination passed 71-29 and a final confirmation vote is expected later today.
Hopefully this new spirit of cooperation from Senate Republicans will also extend to other areas. The president deserves up-or-down votes on his judicial nominations, which have also faced unprecedented levels of obstruction and delay from some Senate Republicans. In particular, we look forward to timely votes on the president’s three nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
BOTTOM LINE: Today’s deal does not fix all of the problems with the Senate, but it represents a huge victory for consumers, workers, and anyone who cares about clean air and water. In addition, the deal underscores that a unified Democrat caucus can stand up to unprecedented Republican obstructionism and get results.
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