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Shelby releases holds on Obama nominees

Updated 8:35 p.m.
By Shailagh Murray
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has released his controversial "holds" on more than 70 pending presidential nominations, his office said Monday night.

Senators, usually from the minority party, often use the legislative tactic on one or a few presidential nominees, usually to protest parochial concerns. Shelby's maneuver, aimed at nearly all appointments awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor, agitated Democrats because it would effectively limit confirmation votes to a handful per month. It also marked a low point in a partisan standoff in the Senate that has forced Democrats to find 60 votes to pass almost everything.

Senate Democratic aides confirmed that Shelby had released most holds, but Shelby said he would continue to block other, unnamed nominees. His office issued a lengthy statement Monday night to explain his move:

"The purpose of placing numerous holds was to get the White House's attention on two issues that are critical to our national security - the Air Force's aerial refueling tanker acquisition and the FBI's Terrorist Device Analytical Center (TEDAC). With that accomplished, Sen. Shelby has decided to release his holds on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition until the new Request for Proposal is issued. The Air Force tanker acquisition is not an 'earmark' as has been reported; it is a competition to replace the Air Force's aging aerial refueling tanker fleet. Sen. Shelby is not seeking to determine the outcome of the competition; he is seeking to ensure an open, fair and transparent competition that delivers the best equipment to our men and women in uniform. Sen. Shelby is fully justified in his concern given the history and current status of this acquisition," the senator's office said.

The White House said that it agreed to none of Shelby's demands, and that the senator released the holds on his own accord.

By Shailagh Murray  |  February 8, 2010; 7:55 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing  
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Comments

How did Shelby get to be such a piece of human garbage?

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 9, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Who elected Shelby the psychoearmarker into congress?

Posted by: cmsatown | February 9, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

President Obama: Use some of that $787 Billion from a year ago to keep Commercial Real Estate from FORECLOSING SMALL BUSINESSES NOW; & prevent a bonafide 1930's type DEPRESSION!

Posted by: MSFT-PELOSI | February 9, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Get your facts straight. Then Sen. Obama placed 3 holds based on POLICY, not EARMARKS.

The sheep continue to eat its regurgitated mess from their talking points cesspool. The dumbing down of America continues.

Posted by: hadelaide | February 9, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Shelby is a puckered sphincter.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 9, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Why did I have to go to the Washington Times to learn that then-Sen. Obama used nominee holds when Bush was in the White House???

Posted by: Hk45 | February 9, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I am encouraged by reading through the majority of the posts here. I had braced myself for posts cheering Senator Shelby on, but instead, he's being blasted from every corner. Perhaps folks are finally figuring out what is going on here and are ready to rebuke the utterly unpatriotic Republicans in the Senate for their treasonous behavior. It can't happen a moment too soon. I find it impossible to believe that the nation is going to reward this behavior in November. A few more stunts like the one Shelby pulled, and it will be another big year for the Democrats.

Posted by: jothomp | February 9, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Sen Shelby was called out by the President, Keith, Rachael and others...for his dastardly deed in holding up the Nominations of over 70 Qualified Individuals. Sen. Waterloo of South Carolina did the same thing with the TSA Director nominee . He got so pissed with Sen Waterloo that he removed his name from consideration.
The Republicans need to be taken to task for their Actions.
Then we have Tom Tancredo who addressed the Tea Party Crowd calling to the reintroduction of the Literacy Test for voting.
And the Crowd cheereed?
In this Black History Month Tancredo is advocating a Literacy Test for voting. Does he realize what he ius saying?.
"People who can't spell VOTE much less say it in English elected Barack Hussain Onama as President"
Those were Tancredo exact words.
All the Talking Heads on the Right beat up on Rev. Wright and
Bill Ayers and others- how come they are silent on Tancredo?
How come Chris Wallace in his interview of Sister Sarah did not ask her about this --Tancredo spoke at the same Cpnvention?
Its time to Push back on these these RACIST Tea Klux ClanERS.

Posted by: Carprin | February 9, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Only on some of them, I understand. He's kept it on some others.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | February 9, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Shelby (R-Alabama) is trying to put the best spin he can on a bad situation (for him).

After having spent every penny they could borrow, and broke every bank in the world the GOP is STILL nagging for more money, in Shelby's case he's demanding $175 million for his home state projects.

Whatever he claims he wants to build for whatever reason, all that would be done exclusive in the welfare state of Alabama, which already pays NO receives more in federal money than the entire state pays in taxes all while the GOP and its freaks claim they cannot live up to their Constitutional responsibility to provide for the general welfare by making sure all Americans have access to affordable health care.

Lying means nothing to Shelby, just tell him what, anything, he can say to get his a.s.s. out of that jam.


Posted by: lindalovejones | February 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This practice should be changed. No one person should be able to hold up the running of the government....especially for "PORK".

Posted by: blhudnall | February 9, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

That sleaze_bag is still holding key military nominations hostage to his pork barrel project for Airbus (EADS). Hello, Shelby? We are at war, remember? Why are you holding our military hostage? And you claim to be a patriot?

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 9, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

To poster Sublimewoody: Our Mr. Shelby most certainly will be re-elected. He has a gigantic war chest. There was hardly a word in our press regarding this latest hypcrisy. We're used to him always putting principles and country first. Remember what a champion he was for fellow Alabamian Lily Ledbetter.

Posted by: pvanderpol | February 9, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"... Sen. Shelby has decided to release his holds on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition until the new Request for Proposal is issued."

In other words, he's still holding on for EADS (a French company) instead of Boeing. And yes, it is pork, Shelby, billions of $ of it.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 9, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Senate rules are custom made for extortion and bribery, otherwise known as incumbent insurance. Perfect for people like Shelby, Byrd, Nelson, Collins and Lieberman. The House is no prize either, but it retains at least a semblance of democracy.

Posted by: st50taw | February 9, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot Shelby....for bringing shame on the GoP. You're as tone deaf as any of the slugs in the WH or your Democrat brethren on the Hill. I used to respect you...no more and I doubt that you're re-electable when your turn comes up next.

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | February 9, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Funny how simply publicizing his little rant caused this moron to cave on his position.

Oh, and WHERE did this little nugget of information get some immediate traction? On the Huffington Post, rather than in the mainstream media.

Take a lesson from this WaPo editors; you can actually accomplish some good for the country if you'd simply spend a little time talking about the ridiculous behavior that goes on in your hometown.

Posted by: Marcus3 | February 9, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Isn't this the bipartisanship Pearlstein was writing about before? The minority party working with the majority in return for concessions.

So much greed. So much graft. So little good.

So in exchange for political appointees that seek to consolidate power in the hands of bureaucrats, a Senator used federal control to award his buddies.

Can we have our government back please? Limit what the federal government has control over. Maybe we should write a Constitution that defines the role of the federal government and guarantee against its abuse by instituting rights to states and citizens. Oh wait. We did that already. What ever happened to that?

Posted by: cprferry | February 9, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Contemptable is not nearly strong enough a word for Shelby's hypocrisy. He is a tool for right wing ideology that is as vacuous as Palin's palm notes. That these do-nothing, Stalin-lock-step senators pass themselves off as patriots is vile. Do something for the entire country for once instead of your funders.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | February 9, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Shelby is a puckered sphincter.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 9, 2010 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Shelby makes me sick. Why does Alabama need more federal dollars? They get back 150% of what they pay in. Their representatives in Congress vote against all taxes, tney just want the spending made possible by the federal tax system they oppose.

On health care, I hope there are no "Medicare/Medicaid" fixes for the bad states like Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, and Louisiana.

Hawaii, Minnesota, Massachusetts all have 98% of their people insured. Why should they pay for Texas, with 25% uninsured. Make the Alabamas and Texas pay for their own neglect. Why subsidize the bad states?

Posted by: SDR55 | February 9, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

The party of *NO!* does it again!

I am suffieiently acquainted with the procurement process to know that a senator can place pressure on the acquiring authority to see things his way in every step of the procurement process, including drafting the specs, the proposal format and evaluation criteria, and actual award of a contract.

Mr. Shelby should step aside and let the procurement process do what it is made to do: to award a contract to the lowest-priced, responsive, responsible offerer.

And remove the hold on all appointees.

Posted by: steelchaser | February 9, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

shelby is just going to make sure that alabama and his campaign contributors get their piece of the defense pie just like the navy keeps having to build ships they don't want at mississippi shipyards. he sees defense spending as welfare entitlements based on political clout not a national security issue. as a south carolinian i am all to familiar with the process.

Posted by: george32 | February 9, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

To His Majesty, King Shelby, thank you! I thought we threw the Royalists out?

Now lets get the government moving. Enuf of gridlock!
http://www.zipinpolitics.com

Posted by: Victoria5 | February 9, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

It's actually worse than the article is making it out to be. Shelby wants the Air Force to rewrite its Request For Proposals, altering the requirements for what the Air Force says it needs in the planes, to favor a foreign corporation (Airbus) that has given tens of thousands in contributions to the Senator, over a domestic airplane manufacturer (Boeing) for a $40 Billion-with-a-B dollar contract.

That's $40 Billion taxpayer dollars going not for the planes the Air Force says they need, but for planes Shelby tells them to get instead from the foreign interests who fund his campaigns.

Posted by: jenniebee | February 9, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Let's see a list of these individuals. If there are anything like the Socialists, Marxists, Communists or Statists that are similar to the cast of Czar's Obama has assembled, then they should not only be held up, but shipped to the Socialist destination of their choice.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | February 8, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

The purpose of placing numerous holds was to get the White House's attention on two issues that are critical to our national security - the Air Force's aerial refueling tanker acquisition and the FBI's Terrorist Device Analytical Center (TEDAC). With that accomplished, Sen. Shelby has decided to release his holds on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition until the new Request for Proposal is issued. The Air Force tanker acquisition is not an 'earmark' as has been reported; it is a competition to replace the Air Force's aging aerial refueling tanker fleet. Sen. Shelby is not seeking to determine the outcome of the competition; he is seeking to ensure an open, fair and transparent competition that delivers the best equipment to our men and women in uniform. Sen. Shelby is fully justified in his concern given the history and current status of this acquisition," the senator's office said.


Senator Shelby, while justified in your concern you may very well be, making so severe a threat not only represents an irrationally disproportionate response but an enormous disrespect for the citizens of our country both in uniform and out.
Given the history of this acquisition process that you alluded to in your release may justify your concern, but it also justifies questioning if the severity of your threat to the White House indicates an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the process itself, not merely to draw more attention to an internationally publicized bidding debacle. Surely a few holds could have accomplished the goal you claim to have acheived with your threats. Threatening an unprecedented obstruction must indicate that your motive was more than what you admit.
One more thing, Senator... you don't plan on using this publicity to prove you fought for jobs in Alabama, do you? That would be an admission you tried to influence - what was it you called it - "an open, fair and transparent competition". That must be the truthy version of fair.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | February 8, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Shelby’s objection has nothing to do with these qualified individuals themselves. Rather, it hinges upon a pair of earmarks, recently eliminated from our nation’s budget, that would benefit his home state of Alabama. Placing these narrow interests above filling so many vacant posts within our government is both irresponsible and inexcusable.

Shelby’s intransigence is also a sharp rebuke of President Obama’s recent request that the G.O.P. govern responsibly rather than blindly obstruct his agenda. If Senate Republicans insist on throwing such temper tantrums every time they don’t get their way, our country will soon become ungovernable.

Read more @ http://armchairfirebrand.wordpress.com/

Posted by: ArmchairFirebrand | February 8, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Reluctantly, I have to concede, I just do not see any situations that will bring this country together under any president, or body. There appears to be on the part of the minority party and their allies a desire to tear the country apart. If the new "brownshirts" and millionaire radio demagogues persists in their efforts to cause dissent amongst the populace, the USA will be at deep risk of desolution. Somehow these foils of the democratic process don't seem to understand the physics of forced motion and its unintended consequences. This venom and bitterness will have as its natural course to initiate the very same actions on the opposing side now subtly being instigated on their behalf. The irony is those who are ratching up our divisions as a people, and are President Obama's loudest foes, have the most to lose and if successful will lose the most. You would think the economic storm clouds, facing us as a country, would in of itself be enough to solidfy us under a common banner just as self-preservation. Go figure.

Posted by: october30 | February 8, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Shelby’s objection has nothing to do with these qualified individuals themselves. Rather, it hinges upon a pair of earmarks, recently eliminated from our nation’s budget, that would benefit his home state of Alabama. Placing these narrow interests above filling so many vacant posts within our government is both irresponsible and inexcusable.

Shelby’s intransigence is also a sharp rebuke of President Obama’s recent request that the G.O.P. govern responsibly rather than blindly obstruct his agenda. If Senate Republicans insist on throwing such temper tantrums every time they don’t get their way, our country will soon become ungovernable.

Read more @ http://armchairfirebrand.wordpress.com/

Posted by: ArmchairFirebrand | February 8, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Shelby is a domestic terrorist, he is handicapping the commander and chief from filling positions of national security.

This traitor is what the GOP is all about, doing their best to see America fail.

The entire GOP should be tried for treason.

Posted by: maxga | February 8, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

What part of we are going to lower the deficit, taxes and lower the cost of healthcare did you not understand? If it is not needed during a recession depression like state then it is NO !!!!

Now get to work and stop being the Party of NO!!!

How is that obstructionist thingy working out for you?

What your party does not hurt President Obama nor the Democrats, you hurt the American people with your childish behavior!!

Posted by: GAPRDDESC | February 8, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

What part of we are going to lower the deficit, taxes and lower the cost of healthcare did you not understand? If it is not needed during a recession depression like state then it is NO !!!! Not get to work and stop being the Party of NO!!!How is that obstructionist thingy working out for you? No your state will not get an earmark and seeing as how you messed up the nomination for TSA who was really overly qualified and a fine pick……there are consequences to the decisions you make. You made your bed now lay down in it. NO MORE EARMARKS!!! What you do does not hurt President Obama nor the Democrats you hurt the American people with your childish behavior!!

Posted by: GAPRDDESC | February 8, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

No more EarMarks for states!

No more handouts to States!

Let the States take care of themselves!

If their people don't have a job then let the states get them a job or let the people create one.

I'm sick of the Republicans talking about the deficit while holding their hand out.

It is not President Obama who needs to personally get you a freakin job!!!

No more extension on unemployment. Enough is Enough!!!

You want lower taxes and lower deficit? Stop bailing out the states until they stop their lame rhetoric!!! Talking out both sides of their necK. You want limited government? You got it!!!

Posted by: GAPRDDESC | February 8, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

If Shelby is serious then he won't mind if we decide to build those tankers in another state. Like say the Boeing plant in WA.

Posted by: soapm | February 8, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

An obstructionist bridge too far, even for a senator from the know nothing party.

Posted by: newjersey_lawyer | February 8, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

That press release must have redacted all the Waaaaaaahhhhs.

Posted by: steveboyington | February 8, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

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