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Friday, February 5, 2010

GOP Senator Holds Senate Hostage: Holds Up Non-Controversial Obama Appointees, Wants Pork Sent to Alabama In Exchange For Easy Confirmation

Many Republicans are hoping to put earmarks on hold for a year, but there is one that is fighting dirty in order to keep one. Richard Shelby, a Republican Senator from Alabama, has refused to let over 70 of Obama's appointees be confirmed because an Alabama company didn't receive a 35-billion-dollar contract for a fleet of new aerial refueling tankers from the government:

A US Senator has taken the extraordinary step of blocking more than 70 of US President Barack Obama's nominees amid a dispute over a lucrative US Air Force tanker deal, senate aides said Friday.

Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, placed a blanket "hold" in part because of the feud pitting Airbus parent EADS and its partner Northrop Grumman against Boeing, his office said.

"Senator Shelby is holding all of the president’s nominees pending on the Executive Calendar," a total of "70-plus" people, said a spokeswoman for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Regan Lachapelle.

While a Shelby spokesman stubbornly claims that the hold is only because of “national security concerns” and not pork, simple logic would lead me to conclude otherwise. I don’t know what in the world about this contract bid would concern national security, unless he believes that Boeing has some sort of mole in their company that might leak out the blueprints of the tankers or sabatoge them. However, the company has no history of such leaks, or they wouldn’t be in the running for the contract in the first place. It is a far more scenario that Senator Shelby is holding out to put pressure on the Administration to grease the wheels and give the contract to the company in Alabama instead of Boeing.

This hold makes little sense considering that the current Obama Administratin is not personally involved in the deal, and those at the Pentagon that are involved are the same ones that were there under  the Bush administration.

Whether or not the FBI offices  should continue to be funded for testing IEDs, may be a slightly more of a valid concern, but it is still not immediate enough appropriate to hang up Obama’s nominations because of it. It’s not so serious that gridlocking the Senate is necessary to resolve the issue immediately.

The only reason why Shelby should of held his consent was because of a valid complaint about the candidate’s views or qualifications. However, I seriously doubt that all 70 or so nominees are so bad that they  would a full hearing before the Senate in order to be confirmed. That would just delay the inevitable and throw a monkey wrench in the Senate’s schedule causing them to have to stop whatever else they’re doing to confirm them. This type of ploy is the exact reason why people have coined them the “Do-Nothing Congress”.

It , also, seems ridiculous that after the GOP spent the last year complaining about Obama taking so long to make a decision about the who he was going to nominate to the various positions,  one of those Republicans are now blocking them, and it is not for any valid reasons. It is so that he can bring home the bacon back to his home state of Alabama. Pathetic. Shelby should be ashamed of himself, and the rest of the Republicans should rebuke him for this and get him to reverse his hold.

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