Republicans in the U.S Senate have more pressing matters to contend with than simply trying to obstruct President Barack Obama’s nominations to head important government agencies.
Republicans have twice used the filibuster to delay votes on the president’s picks to fill high-level positions, defense secretary and CIA director.
A handful of Republicans used the threat of a filibuster in February to delay a vote on former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense. Their stated reason was that they wanted answers to more questions about the handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.
Hagel, of course, had no role in the Benghazi attack. He was confirmed a short time later by the full Senate.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took to the Senate floor last week to deliver a nearly 13-hour filibuster to delay a vote to confirm John Brennan as CIA director. Paul said he wanted assurances that unmanned drones would not be used to kill U.S. citizens in the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder eventually complied with his request by sending him a brief note stating the president does not have the authority to use a drone to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil if the citizen is not engaged in combat, Republican U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., rightly criticized Paul on the Senate floor for his unfathomable delaying tactics.
Presidents have long been granted substantial leeway by the Senate to choose the members of their administration. These recent stall tactics seem to have served no purpose other than political grandstanding at the expense of conducting the pressing business of the nation.