The biggest hindrance to the political process these days is politics. Partisan differences poison even the simplest decisions in Washington, it seems.
The gridlock and animosity has loomed so large that Democrats in the U.S. Senate this year literally changed the rules of the game in order to make the approval process easier for presidential nominees.
The change means the Senate can approve nominees by a simple majority vote – 51 ayes. Rules prior to the change required approval from 60 senators.
As we noted at the time, we’re agitated by something as fundamental as a rules change – those kinds of decisions have a way of backfiring on the party in charge once the partisan majority changes with a future election.
But as distasteful as the process might have been, we’re glad to see the road cleared for important confirmations of key leaders. Among the more critical appointees was President Barack Obama’s selection of former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Republican opponents argued that the agency’s leader must be attentive to hundreds of legal and financial details in such a role. We couldn’t agree more.
That’s why we were puzzled by the GOP’s opposition to Watt. It’s hard to imagine a person more qualified for the task than former Rep. Watt.
Watt served on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. He has an extensive background as a real estate lawyer and businessman. Leaders in the real estate, mortgage and building industries supported his nomination.
We’re pleased to see Watt’s nomination pass, at last. It’s a shame it took such extraordinary measures to make it possible.