Senate Pulls All Nighter on Post-Nuclear Nominations

As if things could get even more log-jammed in Congress, the Senate grinds to a virtual halt

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Susan Walsh / AP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2013.

The Senate tucked in for an all-nighter on Wednesday night, hunkering down for what could amount to several days of little-to-no-sleep — no small feat for some of the Senate septuagenarians.

In what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office called a Republican “temper tantrum,” the GOP delayed votes on Nina Pillard, one of three of President Obama’s nominees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The court currently has eight judges out of a bench of 11. Republicans argue the court’s workload doesn’t warrant a full compliment of 11 judges, fearing Obama will stack the court for a generation — the DC Circuit Court is considered the second most important court in the land and a feeder bench to the Supreme Court.

“Professor Pillard may be a fine person, but she is not someone who should receive a lifetime position on the second highest court in the land,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “She will be confirmed, however, because of the Democrat Majority’s power grab.”

Reid last month invoked what has commonly come to be known as the “nuclear option,” changing the Senate rules so that some of the President’s nominees could be approved by a simple majority vote. The option is thus named because it so curbs the rights of the minority party that when it was first proposed in 2005, it was said it would blow up the Senate, thereby going “nuclear.” Certainly, the Senate tonight is fulfilling that dystopian pledge. Given the rule changes, Republicans have little hope of eventually stopping Pillard, but are forcing Democrats to stay up all night in protest. 

“The Republican caucus [is] stalling for no other reason other than to stall for time,” Reid said in a speech late Wednesday on the floor. “No wonder the American people look at the Senate as a dysfunctional body.” There are dozens more nominations Senate Democrats hope to get through before the holiday break, including that of Janet Yellen, the president’s nominee to chair the Federal Reserve Board.

Cloture, which avoids a filibuster by limiting debate to 30 hours per nomination if Republicans run out the clock, has been filed on the first 10 on the below list of nominees. If the GOP doesn’t yield back time, the Senate will stay in all-night session straight through Saturday night on the first 10 nominations alone.

Also pending before the Senate is the Farm Bill, the annual National Defense Authorization Act and a budget compromise that would avert another government shutdown this January.

  1. Executive Calendar #378, Chai Rachel Feldblum, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (8 hours);
  2. Executive Calendar #330, Elizabeth A. Wolford, of New York, to be US District Judge for the Western District of New York (2 hours);
  3. Executive Calendar #347, Landya B. McCafferty, of New Hampshire, to be US District Judge for the District of New Hampshire (2 hours);
  4. Executive Calendar #361, Patricia M. Wald, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (8 hours);
  5. Executive Calendar #348, Brian Morris, of Montana, to be United States District Judge for the District of Montana (2 hours);
  6. Executive Calendar #349, Susan P. Watters, of Montana, to be United States District Judge for the District of Montana (2 hours);
  7. Executive Calendar #358, Deborah Lee James, of Virginia, to be Secretary of the Air Force (8 hours);
  8. Executive Calendar #444, Heather Anne Higginbottom, of the District of Columbia, to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources (8 hours);
  9. Executive Calendar #406, Anne W. Patterson, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Ambassador, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs) (8 hours);
  10. Executive Calendar #450, Jeh Charles Johnson, of New Jersey, to be Secretary of Homeland Security (30 hours).

EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS

AIR FORCE

#44 to be Brigadier General – Col. Scott C. Long

ARMY

#144 Colonel Joseph J. Heck – to be Brigadier General

CHEMICAL SAFETY AND HAZARD INVESTIGATION BOARD

#189 Richard J. Engler – to be a Member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board for a term of five years

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

#303 Kenneth J. Kopocis – to be an Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

MORRIS K. UDALL AND STEWART L. UDALL FOUNDATION

#334 Charles P. Rose – to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation for a term expiring May 26, 2019

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

#356 Jessica Garfola Wright – to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

#358 Deborah Lee James – to be Secretary of the Air Force

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

#359 Frank G. Klotz – to be Under Secretary for Nuclear Security

PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD

#361 Patricia M. Wald – to be a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board for a term expiring January 29, 2019

MORRIS K. UDALL AND STEWART L. UDALL FOUNDATION

#362 Mark Thomas Nethery – to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation for a term expiring October 6, 2018

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

#367 Suzanne Eleanor Spaulding – to be Under Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

#371 Michael L. Connor – to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

#372 Elizabeth M. Robinson – to be Under Secretary of Energy

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION

#378 Chai Rachel Feldblum – to be a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a term expiring July 1, 2018 (Reappointment)

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

#379 James Cole, Jr. – to be General Counsel, Department of Education

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

#380 Michael Keith Yudin – to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

#387 Katherine M. O’Regan – to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF THE UNITED STATES

#388 Wanda Felton – to be First Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2017 (Reappointment)

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

#390 Jo Ann Rooney – to be Under Secretary of the Navy

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

#391 Jamie Michael Morin – to be Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Department of Defense

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

#403 Frank A. Rose – to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Verification and Compliance)

#404 Tomasz P. Malinowski – to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

#406 Anne W. Patterson – to be an Assistant Secretary of State (NearEastern Affairs)

#407 Rose Eilene Gottemoeller – to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

#408 Crystal Nix-Hines – for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

#409 Pamela K. Hamamoto – to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador

#410 Adam M. Scheinman – to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador

#412 Brian A. Nichols – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Peru

#413 Mark Bradley Childress – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Republic of Tanzania

#414 Carlos Roberto Moreno – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Belize

#415 John Hoover – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone

#416 Timothy M. Broas – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands

#417 Donald Lu, of California – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Albania

#418 Robert A. Sherman – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic

#420 Thomas Frederick Daughton – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Namibia

#422 Michael Stephen Hoza – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Cameroon

#423 Eunice S. Reddick – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Niger

#424 Karen Clark Stanton – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

#425 Matthew T. Harrington – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Lesotho

#426 Dwight L. Bush, Sr. – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco

POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION

#427 Nanci E. Langley – to be a Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission for a term expiring November 22, 2018

#428 Tony Hammond – to be a Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission for a term expiring October 14, 2018 (Reappointment)

THE JUDICIARY

#429 William Ward Nooter – to be an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for a term of fifteen years

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

#430 Terrell McSweeny – to be a Federal Trade Commissioner for the unexpired term of seven years from September 26, 2010

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

#431 Robert Michael Simon – to be an Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

#432 Jo Emily Handelsman – to be an Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

#433 Kathryn D. Sullivan – to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

#438 Amos Rojas, Jr. – to be United States Marshal for the Southern District of Florida for the term of four years

#439 Peter C. Tobin – to be United States Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio for a term of four years

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

#440 Daniel W. Yohannes – to be Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador

#441 Elizabeth Frawley Bagley – to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

#442 Theodore Strickland – to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

#443 Stephen N. Zack – to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

#444 Heather Anne Higginbottom – to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources

#445 Sarah Sewall – to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights)

#446 Richard Stengel – to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy

PEACE CORPS

#447 Carolyn Hessler Radelet – to be Director of the Peace Corps

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

#448 Anthony Luzzatto Gardner – to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

#449 Amy Jane Hyatt – to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Palau

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

#450 Jeh Charles Johnson – to be Secretary of Homeland Security

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

#451 Jon M. Holladay – to be Chief Financial Officer, Department of Agriculture

FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

#452 Janet L. Yellen – to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years

JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS

THE JUDICIARY

#330 Elizabeth A. Wolford – to be US District Judge for the Western District of New York

#347 Landya B. McCafferty – to be US District Judge for the District of New Hampshire

#348 Brian Morris – to be United States District Judge for the District of Montana

#349 Susan P. Watters – to be United States District Judge for the District of Montana

#350 Jeffrey Alker Meyer – to be United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut

#382 Brian J. Davis – to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida

#383 Timothy L. Brooks – to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas

#384 James Donato – to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California

#385 Beth Labson Freeman – to be US District Judge for the Northern District of California

#386 Pedro A. Delgado Hernandez – to be US District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico

#434 Carolyn B. McHugh – to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit

#435 Pamela L. Reeves – to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee

#436 Vince Girdhari Chhabria – to be US District Judge for the Northern District of California

#437 James Maxwell Moody, Jr. – to be US District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas

40 comments
ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Democrats who have been stymied because of the blocked appointments should keep these doofus ols senators up night after night if that is what it takes to actually get something done in the face of the slimy GOP attempts to nullify the Obama presidency.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

What you anybody possibly expect that blackguard Mitch McConnell to say.  He is a dolt and an insult to the rest of the United States Senate.  The people of Kentucky have not done themselves any great favor by sending him up to Washington to represent them.  He reminds me of the late, unlamented Jesse Helms.  What a pity!

artgolden
artgolden

The last, dying gasp of an out-of-touch group of idiots. 

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

I'm all in favor of gridlock. The more time spent in gridlock the less time spent running up the national debt.

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

Most of these guys are so old they're used to being up all night anyway.

grape_crush
grape_crush

> The court currently has eight judges out of a bench of 11. Republicans argue the court’s workload doesn’t warrant a full compliment of 11 judges, fearing Obama will stack the court for a generation

If the shoe was on the other foot, the GOPers wouldn't have an issue with the number of judges or a concern about 'stacking' the court in their favor at all.

If the Republicans want to shrink the size of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, they need to pass legislation that does so.

JohnMcCutchen
JohnMcCutchen

The heck of it is, no one cares what the Congress does

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

I can't wait to put these rotten old bstards in a FEMA camp.

chacalcdn
chacalcdn

2 terms limit should be applied so the blanket cannot be too comphy for any of them.

SERVING THE PEOPLE are they?

I see no ME in the word PEOPLE.

They should be reminded that THEY 2 are part of PEOPLE.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Shows how partisan and power-mad the GOP are that have held up all of these nominations in their attempt to nullify the election of Pres. Obama in 2009 and in 2012 with 82 blocked appointments or nearly as all the 86 blocked appointments combined in American history.

How sad the GOP are that have blocked an all-time record of 430+ bills and made unprecedented use of the 60-vote super majority to produce the least productive (55 bills passed) most dysfunctional GOP-driven Congress in US history--all while hurting the country and job and enconomic growth all for partisan gain.

okinard
okinard

The GOP is nothing but very sorry asses that can not except that Mr Obama is the rightful POTUS. They are just showing how infentile they can be but it's cool the Dems will stick to their plan and screw the GOP. What a bunch of wastful people who supposetly are representing their citezens and instead they represent their owners(Rove,Coke Bros, etc. 

We must do any and all that we can to rid of these nuts out of our Congress & Senate. What a waste!

shazam
shazam

These guys get paid for doing this non productive nonsense?


In America the beautiful of all places; Hmmmmmmmm!!!

callen34
callen34

The Retardicans are desperate in their attempt to destroy America.

CliffordSpencer
CliffordSpencer

The Republican concept of a qualified judge is Haynesworth, Carswell and Bork!

Perfectly clear?

tsvskibum
tsvskibum

I'd like to see the B#$d stay in session continuously until the next congress.  By then maybe they'd get something done. 

SpikeLee
SpikeLee

"Certainly, the Senate tonight is fulfilling that dystopian pledge."

No.  This is exactly what Republicans were doing before, running out the clock by not voting for cloture.  Now, it only takes 30 hours per nomination instead of an infinite amount of time.

Seeing as all of these nominations will finally pass, and the press is finally covering the dystopia that has been the Senate since 2009, this is a win-win for Democrats.


LeahPetersen
LeahPetersen

"Up All Night Doing Nothing"
 

Is it just me or would this headline work for pretty much any article about this Congress ever?

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Democrats need to return the favor and do quorum call after quorum call.  If the Republicans want to play games, play it on your terms.  Also, isn't it time that using the gym as your personal locker room needs to stop.  Let them just sleep in their offices and wash up in their bathroom and hope the their Speed Stick works.  I hope the taxpayer isn't paying to keep their cafeteria open for their convenience.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

Just more evidence that the Republicans actually hate the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. 


MrObvious
MrObvious

GOPers just don't like to legislate so when their favorite lazy weapon against basic legislative actions (like appoint nominations) they do something like this.


It tells you something tho; it tells you something about the very way GOP have abused this. 86 or so filibustered under ALL previous presidents. 82 or something under Obama.


This is of course the proper information missing from any reporting on this. It's not that like with CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/11/politics/senate-all-nighter/index.html?hpt=hp_t2) where it's he she said from party insiders. That's bad reporting. Any article about this that miss the REAL data why the Dems nuked the filibuster on nominees does readers a dis-service. This is not a question about what one party says over the other. This is the consequence of a minority power that want to remove the consequence of 2 elections through political maneuvers. 

oddegg69
oddegg69

Don't know about the lady to be judge, but it seems to me that Mitch seems to think he has a lifetime job. 

sacredh
sacredh

A small rant that ties in with the GOP filibustering nominations:

Ohio is a swing state. No republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio. Obama is not a very poular president, yet he took Ohio twice during hard economic times. Bill Clinton took Ohio twice. W very narrowly took Ohio against a bad democratic candidate (Gore). We're on the verge of turning light blue. We're transitioning from being a true toss-up to being leans blue. Where is the path to the White House for the GOP if Ohio turns blue? Virginia used to be a reliably red state. That isn't the case anymore. Virginia went for Obama both times. A hard road for the GOP is becoming harder with each passing election. The Tea Party is turning the GOP brand toxic. They've already been diagnosed as being in the terminal phase. They'll only become more strident and even less appealing to the general electorate.

sacredh
sacredh

"Republicans argue the court’s workload doesn’t warrant a full compliment of 11 judges, fearing Obama will stack the court for a generation"

Because they want a chance to stack the court for a generation. What they have to do is win a presidential election and ditch the clowns from the Tea Party.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

The republican minority has every right to reinforce their reputation as Do Nothings. 

j45ashton
j45ashton

WTF...these Republicans are such poor losers.  Bush stacked the courts plenty with Republicans.  You didn't see all this infantile filibustering  coming from the Democrats.  Throw these bum Republicans out!  They shutdown the gov't, bring progress to a halt, try to block everything.  Get them TF out of office.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

mary.waterton--Where were you when the GOP from Reagan forward took a Natiional Debt less than $800 billion through Carter and TRIPLED it. GHW Bush added to it with costly military invasions and GW Bush more than DOUBLED it yet again while leaving behind trillions in unpaid for bills including a $1.7 TRILLION budget deficit, the 12+-year, $2.8 TRILLION, non-jobs-creating Bush tax cuts, or 20+ years of combined wars based upon lies projected to cost $6 trillion.

Attend college, serve in the military, serve your God or country in any way?

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

@mary.waterton Mary, with respect:  That is just plain foolishness.  Ask somebody who knows something to help you understand what's amiss.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@mary.waterton

Far from it, the more gridlock the more money is wasted. It's a myth that they just run up debt - of so much common sense spending most of the 'good' spending costs us far less money (like SNAP) that ensures that people have some food on the table then the slop that do go through like corporate welfare.


In other words - the real good stuff that cost pennies and help people languish and the stuff that costs gobs of money goes through.

LeahPetersen
LeahPetersen

That's ridiculous. The debt can't be dealt with by pretending it'll just go away if you refuse to acknowledge it. I don't know about you, but if I refuse to pay my credit card bill because I don't like it, I get a bigger, nastier bill from the company.

sacredh
sacredh

@Curious_Quiche, and I want them taken there in a black helicopter manned by foreign nationals in UN shirts that don't speak english.

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

@sacredh They like the court the way it is short-handed, 5 Republican appointees to 4 Democratic appointees.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@sacredh

Yup, this - the court is just right when they hold a majority of the judges, but once they get in power they'll happy to appoint people. What they think is of course irrelevant, but what's worse is journalists inability to provide the facts and data and instead report what party wranglers claim as if it's relevant.



Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh When one thinks about it, it really is an admission that the republicans know they can't win national elections. 

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

@j45ashton Bush stacked every regulatory agency with useless people to try to ruin the agencies work.  Liberty University graduates (???) actually don't have anything to recommend them for their job except being right-wingers.

sacredh
sacredh

@Paul,nnto, I may be giving the GOP too much credit for being able to think, but by 2050 we're going to be a white minority country. Republicans fear this. Democrats don't. If Obama can stack the courts for a generation, it's pretty close to being FOREVER. 

CliffordSpencer
CliffordSpencer

I am a Caucasian!

I am an American!

  I am proud that I voted for Obama!

  Our ONLY jailed attorney-general was Nixon's first, John Mitchell!

  That ilk was a disgrace to my race and my country!

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh @Paul,nnto I think segments of the republican party understand that…Rubio "bravely" stuck out his neck on immigration for about 10 seconds.


But, as Rubio learned, the base ain't having it. 

Decades of nurturing victimhood from the party of "personal responsibility" has a cost.