Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has put forward an excellent idea for getting the President’s stalled nominees for the executive branch past Chuck Schumer’s retarding maneuvers. Johnson writes:
I have a simple proposal: Change the rules of the Senate to limit debate on sub-Cabinet and lower-court nominees to two hours on the Senate floor. Use Senate committees to vet nominees and report on them to the full Senate, where leadership can assign appropriate members to make the case for or against a nominee in the allotted two hours. Then vote.
The Senate committee process works well with nominations. Candidates are thoroughly vetted by committee members and staff who are well versed on the issues that nominees will be empowered to address. Once a nominee is processed and voted out of committee, it would be sufficient and entirely appropriate to hold an expeditious vote on the Senate floor.
Another good idea for the Senate comes from Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ). He explains how appalled the House is that the Senate isn’t acting on all the bills the House has passed and sent to it:
The greatest obstacle blocking Republicans from fulfilling our agenda is not manufactured outrage about Russians. It’s the Senate filibuster, the 60-vote threshold to suspend debate that prevents most bills from making it to the floor.
For years, my fellow Arizonan Rep. Trent Franks has condemned the 60-vote rule, arguing that it stops too many bills already passed by the House from becoming law. President Trump has now joined the chorus of filibuster critics as he watches his agenda languish. Republicans should consign the 60-vote rule to history—or risk throwing away their agenda along with their congressional majority.
The House has already passed more than 200 bills this year, including legislation to repeal Dodd-Frank and strengthen immigration enforcement. All that legislation is parked in the Senate because even getting a vote effectively requires 60 ayes. The only conclusion is that the Senate is controlled by the minority party….
Another downside is that the filibuster rule shields senators from the responsibility of taking hard votes. They can play both sides of an issue by claiming to support a bill they know will never meet the 60-vote threshold.
A final idea — or rather implementation — should have come from Senator McConnell, the Majority Leader, but didn’t. Lisa Murkowski was not only one of the three senators preventing the Republicans from passing the “skinny” Obamacare reform bill, she even had the pettiness, after Trump criticized her for her vote, to take revenge by halting consideration of Trump nominees before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee she chairs. To which one asks, why, why wasn’t Ms. Murkowski immediately removed as chairman of this committee, so important to her standing in Alaska?
No wonder there isn’t discipline among Republicans in the Senate — there’s no punishment for bad behavior!
Oh yes, and couldn’t the Senate also have recessed a while so that Trump could have made some recess appointments from an agreed-upon list (not including Attorney General Sessions, of course)? That would have helped relieve the Schumer confirmation blockade.