Apparently, Republicans in the Senate are coming to realize that many of President Donald Trump’s nominees are so inept and controversial that they may have to change the Senate rules so the president can continue to give appointments to less-than-qualified applicants.
In order to speed up confirmation, the GOP is now seriously considering changing the Senate rulebook to limit debate time allowed by the opposition party on nominees made by Trump. Republicans say the change is necessary because of the Democrats. They say that much like Republicans did under former President Barack Obama, Democrats are taking too long and “slow-walking” nominations.
Despite the planned rule change, Alabama GOP Senator Richard Shelby tried to downplay the move:
“It merely shortens what is currently an unreasonably long process.”
Hearings on the matter were held shortly before Congress adjourned for the Christmas recess. The measure was first suggested by Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.). Under the proposed change, the current allowance of 30 hours of floor debate would shrink to eight hours total, which Lankford said is necessary because the Senate cannot manage to do more than one thing at a time:
“We have learned as a body that we are either going to do nominees, or we are going to do legislation, but we can’t do both. … The Senate cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.”
The Senate limited debate time on nominees once before, in 2013, when Democrats controlled the upper body of Congress. That rule change passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 78-16. However, none of Obama’s nominees were declared unqualified as some of Trump’s picks have been.
So now we have the Republican party gladly participating in an attempt to pack the courts with unqualified extremist right-wingers before they lose control of Congress in 2018. One wonders what they’ll whine about when they no longer hold the levers of power.
Featured Image Via Screengrab.