Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Friday, February 5, 2010


Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold" on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.

"While holds are frequent," CongressDaily's Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report (sub. req.), "Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal."

The Mobile Press-Register picked up the story early this afternoon. The paper confirmed Reid's account of the hold, and reported that a Shelby spokesperson "did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking confirmation of the senator's action or his reason for doing so."

Shelby has been tight-lipped about the holds, offering only an unnamed spokesperson to reporters today to explain them. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke the news of the blanket hold this afternoon. Reid aides told CongressDaily the hold extends to "all executive nominations on the Senate calendar."


According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama's nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track. The two programs Shelby wants to move forward or else:

A $40 billion contract to build air-to-air refueling tankers. From CongressDaily: "Northrop/EADS team would build the planes in Mobile, Ala., but has threatened to pull out of the competition unless the Air Force makes changes to a draft request for proposals." Federal Times offers more details on the tanker deal, and also confirms its connection to the hold.

An improvised explosive device testing lab for the FBI. From CongressDaily: "[Shelby] is frustrated that the Obama administration won't build" the center, which Shelby earmarked $45 million for in 2008. The center is due to be based "at the Army's Redstone Arsenal."

Though a Shelby spokesperson would not confirm that these programs were behind the blanket hold, the Senator expressed his frustration about the progress on both through a spokesperson to both CongressDaily and the Federal Times.

A San Diego State University professor and Congressional expert told the Mobile paper "he knew of no previous use of a blanket hold" in recent history.

h/t TPM

Senatorial extortion?  Sounds like it: "Hey!  Mr. President!  You want your nominees?  Hand over the earmarks, and no one gets hurt."  If this were happening anywhere else, it would be a felony.

Remember the outrage over Senators Nelson and Landrieu and the exchange of money for votes? I do. 
I remember hearing them called prostitutes for what they did.  There was a firestorm of anger over what happened.  I wonder if this egregious example of Senatorial blackmail will produce the same amount of outrage.

Our system of governing is broken.


tnlib said...

Since outrage seems to be solely dependent on who the culprit is and to which party they belong, I doubt that we will hear much.

Arthurstone said...

Ah yes. The GOP waxing indignant.

And what a sight that is.

They profess to hate 'earmarks' and hate deficits.

Except they don't.

This is interesting:

The 'defense' budget. The biggest slab of pork ever.

Ralph said...

"Shelby had quite a very different attitude when a Republican sat in the White House. In early ’05 — shortly after winning his fourth term to the Senate — Shelby complained, “Far too many of the President’s nominees were never afforded an up or down vote, because several Democrats chose to block the process for political gain.” He added, “Inaction on these nominees is a disservice to the American people."

When will Americans wake up and see that politicians are walking, talking hypocrites intent on keeping their jobs and pwers and screwing the rest of America?

dmarks said...

Go ahead, clote that vote. I must not be a good Republican, because this guy is looking as bad as Landrieu, etc.

libhom said...

Shelby should be facing an FBI investigation to determine if contributions from the arms merchants are playing a role in this.

Oso said...

I wonder if the two projects would be done more cheaply in Alabama than elsewhere? Shelby's a Dixiecrat. Might be an election coming up and he's standing up to Washington to curry favor with the electorate.

Beach Bum said...

Shelby swimming in the warm pool of earmarks? Not that fine, upstanding American statesman.

TRUTH 101 said...

I love this irony. Republicans are always demanding an end to nepotism and government favors. Yet they are the by far the worst abusers. 40 billion? Man. How many nieces and nephews does this guy have?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

No matter WHICH party,they need to be booted.ANY type of Bribe in concidered a Violation of the Constitution and the OATH of their Office.,if they are blatantly guilty they need to go.!

Anonymous said...

Come on, let's face facts. Obama doesn't speak dialect and if he did he wouldn't have had a chance of being elected.

Anonymous said...

De Nile is not just a river in Egypt. It is the very foundation of the culture of Political Correctness which seeks actively, to obfuscate reality with misrepresentations, distortions, slogans & platitudes, & pretty liberal rhetoric disconnected from reality. And the reality is that Islam is at war with the ”unbelievers” – that there is a direct causal relationship between Islamic ideology & terrorist acts against unbelievers.. It doesn't take any courage to abort a child, it takes selfishness

Anonymous said...

Keep deluding yourself Truth, if you think that anyone here gives a good crap, your only deluding yourself.

dmarks said...

"that there is a direct causal relationship between Islamic ideology & terrorist acts against unbelievers."

I have many Muslim friends. None of them are terrorists. If there were such a direct causal relationship between Islam (the proper term for Muslim ideology) and terrorism, we'd have a billion terrorists in the world, because there are a billion Muslims. But no, the number of terrorists is relatively tiny compared to that.

When it comes to being a direct cause of terrorism, "Muslim ideology" is doing a terrible job of it.

Anonymous said...

dmarks said...

"that there is a direct causal relationship between Islamic ideology & terrorist acts against unbeliever'


lornakismet said...

I am a former lefty having worked as a union steward and contract negotiator for the Steelworkers Union. I rallied in DC with Leo Gerard outside the Whitehouse.
The left-wing preys on gullible, gullible people-many of whom are very well-intentioned-but unrealistic in their understanding of humanity.

Follow that link. You will find it interesting

Debby said...

Arthurstone said...

Dick Nixon would be vastly amused to learn the political hack Roger Ailes has made a fortune in "journalism"

I guess It was only a matter of time before Nixon was dug up again and some one blamed him for whatever!
The progressives running our government (who should be called "regressives") are scaring normal Americans who are paying attention. Let's stop them before they make over 50% dependent on the government.

Obama's rudeness, arrogance, and general dislike of the American people has finally focused the country on what he's really saying and doing. The thrill is gone. He did kill health care (thanks, Pres. O!)
Ya can't blame Nixon for that.. Or Bush either.

Oso said...

re:Islam and terrorism.Well said.

K_Lynn said...

As a a staunch defender of people using their blogs for whatever they wish to use them for. You can bet if I ever need to promote anything, I’ll consider my blog a legitimate venue to do just that. Also, I’m not about to stop you or stop reading you just because I may disagree with you on something no matter what!

dmarks said...

Anonymous said:
dmarks said...

"that there is a direct causal relationship between Islamic ideology & terrorist acts against unbeliever'


Actually... the exact quote you are exclaiming about originally came from you.

TRUTH 101 said...

Why are righties attacking Dmarks? He's one of the rational ones that can make a good case without using the words "socialist" or "pinko."

Or is that why they hate him. He's not following orders from Rush and Glen to call us pinkos and socialists.

Rush demands loyalty among his subjects above all else. Common sense and intelligence are not required. Actually, those qualities are discouraged among the rank and file righties.

Arthurstone said...

Who 'blamed' Nixon for anything? Talk about Pavlov's dog.

But since your guilty conscience can't remain silent we'll review.

Dick begat RR begat GWB.

Your side has won nearly all the political battles over the past 40 years.

Conservatism has triumphed. And of course that is why we're in the mess we're in currently.

dmarks said...

Arthur: "Who 'blamed' Nixon for anything? Talk about Pavlov's dog."

Now I at last learn that Pavlov's dog was named Checkers.

dmarks said...

Truth: I'm not sure Anon was attacking me. It looked like he made a statement, and then declared part of his own statement to be "Bullsh*t!". It might be something like a dog happily gnawing on a meaty bone, for quite a while, before the dog realizes that he is gnawing on his own front leg.