The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Drew Courtney or Josh Glasstetter,Phone: 202-467-4999,Email:,

Senators Highlight Mistreatment of Obama Nominees


In response to today's floor statements by
Senators highlighting
the unprecedented obstruction of President Obama's executive and
nominees, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge
released the following statement:

"President Obama's nominees have been treated
worse than
those of any other president. It's a simple fact. The GOP's
historic obstruction of nominees cannot go on forever.

"Democratic Senators took to the floor today to
express their
outrage over the mistreatment of President Obama's nominees.
They're getting fed up, and so will the American people as they learn
more about the GOP's ongoing effort to cripple and obstruct this

"One overwhelmingly successful cloture vote
after another has
revealed the truth about the GOP's filibuster strategy. Their
aren't based on actual disagreements over policy or qualifications
- they're done purely to waste time. One recently filibustered
nominee, Barbara Keenan, was confirmed 99-0. Not even one Republican
could be
found to vote against a nominee they had just filibustered. That sort of
blatant obstruction is truly incredible.

"Republican Senators should take a short trip
down memory lane to
2001. Only three of President Bush's executive nominees waited longer
than three months to be confirmed. Meanwhile, over 45 Obama nominees
waited for
at least three months, and many are still waiting to be confirmed to
positions in the administration.

"If Republican Senators cannot be convinced by
appeals to
precedent, fairness, and reciprocity, Senate Democrats must highlight
overcome their obstruction. Today's show of unity by Democrats is an
encouraging first step."

# # #

Also see our recent memo on the GOP's
unprecedented obstruction

GOP Obstruction of Executive Branch Nominees

From: Marge Baker, Executive
Vice President, People For the American Way

To: Interested Parties

Re: GOP Obstruction of Executive Branch

Date: March 3, 2010

Despite the fact that Democrats hold a
substantial majority in the
chamber, Republican senators are blocking President Obama's Executive
nominees at a rate never before seen, according to a review of records
People For the American Way.

From 1949 (when Senate rules were changed to
provide for cloture on
nominations) through 2008, cloture votes have been forced on only 24
branch nominations. However, in just the first thirteen months of the
administration, there have been nine such cloture votes: Cass Sunstein
Robert Groves (Census), Harold Koh (State Department), Chris Hill
to Iraq), David Hayes (Interior), Ben Bernanke (Federal Reserve),
Smith (Labor), Martha Johnson (General Services Adminstration), and
Becker (National Labor Relations Board)

That's an increase of more than 2000% in the
rate of forced cloture
votes on nominations-24 nominations on which cloture votes were forced
in sixty
years compared to 9 in just over 13 months. Republicans are on pace to
force 29
cloture votes by the end of Obama's first term.

An examination of President George W. Bush's
term reveals that the Senate
subjected only seven executive nominations to cloture votes for the
eight years-compared to the nine in just the first thirteen months of
the Obama

Another measure, cloture petitions filed,
reveals an even more dramatic
increase in the magnitude of the obstruction. Between 1949 and 2008,
there were
36 executive nominations on which cloture was filed, while there have
been 15
filed since President Obama took office.

Indeed, during all eight years of George Bush's
presidency, there were
only 15 nominations on which cloture petitions were filed compared to
the same
number in just over thirteen months of the Obama Administration. At this
President Obama can expect 51 of his first term executive nominees to
cloture petitions.

Moreover, the number of cloture votes/petitions
may well go much
higher-there are currently 69 nominations on the executive calendar. For
than 89% of these nominations it will be at least three months since
each was
nominated (Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee to head the Office of
Counsel, is expected to be re-approved by the Judiciary Committee
tomorrow. She
was first nominated way back on February 11, 2009-well over a year.)

In addition to the OLC and other key positions
at the Department of
Justice, nominees to a number of other agencies have been blocked,
the Department of Defense, the International Monetary Fund, the National
Transportation Safety Board, the Department of State, the Department of
and the Department of Homeland Security.

This sort of obstruction is literally
unprecedented for either party
and should be stopped. It prevents executive branch departments from
critical public needs, and it represents, essentially, an effort to
the results of the last election.

(This is an updated version
of a
memo released by People For the American
Way on October 23, 2009.)

People For the American Way works to build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. We fight against right-wing extremism and the injustice it fosters.

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