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Reid: 'Obama [has] faced twice as many filibusters of his nominees in his first four months as President Bush faced in his first four years'

Harry Reid takes aim at Republicans for blocking so many of Barack Obama's nominees:

Right now we have no permanent Surgeon General in place. And the reason is as simple as it is mind-boggling: Republicans in the Senate refuse to confirm President Obama’s exceptionally qualified nominee for this job.

I would try to explain the Republican reason for their refusal, but as with so many other things they oppose, a rationale simply doesn’t exist. Senate Republicans are simply so opposed to everything – absolutely everything – that they even oppose putting people in some of the most important positions in our government.

Democrats, on the other hand, believe that those who have chosen to serve our country must be able to get to work without delay.

M. President, perhaps those watching and listening think this is how the Senate always operates. It is not. Allow me to put these delays in context:

The Senate has confirmed 366 of President Obama’s nominees. How does this compare historically? At this point in President Bush’s first term, 421 of his nominees were already at their desks. At this point in President Clinton’s first term, 379 nominees were on the job. And 480 of President Reagan’s nominees were confirmed. But Senate Republicans have only allowed President Obama 366.

In fact, in the first four months of the Bush Administration, when the Senate was controlled by the president’s party and we were in the minority, there wasn’t a single filibuster of a Bush nominee. Not one.

But in the first four months of the Obama Administration, Republicans filibustered eight of his nominees. That means that President Obama faced twice as many filibusters of his nominees in his first four months as President Bush faced in his first four years.

The country really would be a better place if Democrats had let Bill Frist invoke the nuclear option and begin the project of blowing up the filibuster.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 29, 2009; 4:18 PM ET
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Next: An interview with Rep. George Miller


Well, if Mr. Obama would nominate less radicals, perhaps he would get more of his nominees confirmed!!!

Posted by: igrmlnt | October 29, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Is this true even if you account for the pace of nominations? Wasn't Obama a bit slow with lower tier nominations? It seems a better measure would be time from nomination to confirmation...

Posted by: rmilton1 | October 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Which of the sixty "democrats" is continuing to filibuster Obama's nominees?

Posted by: akmakm | October 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Seriously... when you can't even unite all your senators behind confirming a nominee I have a hard time blaming the minority party.

Posted by: spotatl | October 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Agree with "akmakm":

are these actually "filibuster" procedural votes or are they those (even worse and more anti-democratic) anonymous holds placed while in committee?

Posted by: rusty_spatula | October 29, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The real question is why does Reid allow senators to put an anonymous procedural hold on nominees. There is no filibuster when the Republicans have only 40 seats.

Posted by: bmull | October 29, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Wait a second, after Senator Jeffords switched parties, didn't Democrats control the Senate during President Bush's first 2 years? Why would Democrats filibuster their own Senate control?

Posted by: lancediverson | October 29, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The more we can get the case out that that's true, the more likely the next opportunity won't be squandered.

Intellectual battles like this do, in fact, matter greatly. They can eventually have great influence on policy makers, as they did, for example, with free trade (for better), the efficient market hypothesis (for worse, although that's changing fast), and global warming (hopefully it will be very strong and obvious conventional wisdom soon).

Here is what I think is an important and little known strong reason for the Democrats to support abolition of the filibuster:

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | October 29, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the filibuster is that to cut off debate, you have to have at least 30 hours of debate. The Cloture also has to be scheduled 3 days in advance. There are dozens of holds right now, to break those holds, even with 60 votes will take months. That's why it's time to go nuclear.

Posted by: marvyT | October 29, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

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