Democrats Refuse To Show Up For Work; Isakson Responds

The Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee have decided to refuse to appear at meetings in order to slow down the nominations of Congressman Tom Price for HHS and Steven Mnuchin for Treasury. Senate rules require one member of the minority party to be present in order to have a quorum. Senator Johnny Isakson is not amused.

The Senate has long been the body that moves slowly and cooly, as their six year terms presumably given members a long term view of politics. Senior members have lived long enough to know what goes around, comes around. It’s a body where relationships often matter as much as politics.

I’m told by a top Hill insider that Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told Finance Chairman Orin Hatch (R-Utah) on Sunday that there would be no boycott. Add this to Chuck Schumer backtracking on his promises on the timing of CIA Director Pompeo’s vote, and you now have a huge vacuum of trust developing in the US Senate. To add insult to injury, Schumer also just voted against Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary. She’s been a member of a cabinet before as Labor Secretary under Bush. The only explanation is that she’s the wife of Schumer’s counterpart, Mitch McConnell. This is not a pleasant path we’re taking, and it is one that will be difficult to return from.

In the above video, Senator Isakson, one known to work across the aisle and vote based on character, is clearly flummoxed by the Democrat’s chosen path of character assassination and party line votes over ideology. His remarks are as follows:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership, and thank you for the role model you are for all of us … because you’re here and working, which is where all of us should be.

“I hoped we’d be voting soon, but I know we are not voting because the Democrats are boycotting the meeting and that’s a shame, but I will take the opportunity to say this.

“We have two nominees for the cabinet who are great individuals and deserve the up-or-down vote by each member of the committee. You can either vote ‘yes’ or you can vote ‘no,’ but not voting is not good.

“We’ve seen what happens in our country when we don’t have people in important places, so confirmation is an important process and our responsibility of members of the Senate.

“In terms of the Finance Committee, the secretary of Health and Human Services is a critical appointment to me, as all the members of the committee know. … I think [Tom Price] will be a great secretary of HHS.

“Interestingly enough, I had Marilyn Tavenner in my office this morning to discuss healthcare issues. She did such a great job [as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services]. Sylvia Burwell has done a great job at HHS. I was proud to vote for both Democrat appointees.

“And now that we have a Republican appointee, it is a shame that because of partisan politics, which I guess is the reason, that we are not allowed to have a vote on a man who has an outstanding record as a physician, an outstanding record as a member of Congress, an outstanding record as a private citizen of the United States of America, someone who is an outstanding family man and a great individual. Tom Price is the right man, at the right time, for the right job.

“When people complain to us about not getting to Obamacare yet, one of the reasons we’re not is because we don’t have a secretary of HHS. And the longer we have boycotts of meetings, the longer that’s protracted, the longer it’s going to be before we can get the replacement for Obamacare done.

“So, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your leadership. I appreciate you giving me the chance to say something. I’m here. I’m ready to vote and do my job. I hope the Democrats will come to the table soon and do the same thing.”

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gcp
gcp

Tacky, childish behavior by the Dems. In 2009 Repubs approved ten Obama picks within a week.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

To be fair, the Obama nominees were announced earlier and had their OGE paperwork submitted and completed prior to nomination hearings. The Trump Administration, by all accounts, was not prepared for winning and was a couple months behind in the transition process. Further, Obama had more nominations blocked than every president before him combined, so save me the sad violin when it comes to Democratic obstructionism.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Not endorsing the strategy one way or the other, but this action is not without precedent: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/senators-boycott-blocks-action-to-confirm-epa-head/2013/05/09/c1c5062a-b8dd-11e2-92f3-f291801936b8_story.html?utm_term=.730658b37eb8 Nor is Schumer’s “personal” vote against Chao (although, I believe it’s more of a signaling vote on behalf of the entire Democratic caucus more so than a vote done out of spite): https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/07/opinion/an-obama-nominees-crushed-hopes.html?_r=0 Strategically, this is the Democrats’ only real shot at defeating these nominations. The cloture threshold on a motion to discharge a committee from consideration of a nomination is 60 votes. Democrats would only pull this action if they knew they had the votes necessary to defeat cloture. The committee can’t… Read more »

gcp
gcp

It was Obama that said to Eric Cantor in 2009, “elections have consequences.” I have not followed Mnuchin nomination but what else do they want from Price and the others?

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

For Price – According to today’s WSJ, the story Price told regarding the stock offering for that Australian biotech company may have contained some alternative facts. Namely, Price said that the offer was available every individual investor. According to the WSJ story, the discounted stock offer was only available to less than 20 investors who were given a special invitation. For Mnuchin – Mnuchin was asked if OneWest engaged in robo-signing. He said that they did not. Robo-signing was a process wherein low-level employees would sign an affidavit saying they’ve reviewed and verified all business documents relating to a foreclosure,… Read more »

gcp
gcp

Innate Immunotherapeutics Ltd. was available for purchase to others within a group. When he made that trade he didn’t know he was gonna get nominated for HHS. As I have said previously the only way to prevent the appearance of impropriety is to bar all congressmen from owning individual equities which won’t happen. As for the treasury guy perhaps he did not know his bank was robo-signing but the practice was widespread during that timeframe and maybe he did know. He is not a particularly good selection but there is no good reason to delay his confirmation. The Dem delays… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

The people are seeing this behavior. “The Deplorables” won’t forget this in two years when all of them Lib senators are up for re-election. Any bets on how many more seats the Repubs pick up in the upper chamber in 2018? If this childish behavior continues, it’s only a matter of time until Trump goes to Twitter and rallies his Real Americans to shut down the Capitol switchboard, flood Capitol emails and march on Capitol and State offices. I cannot wait to see that! The only question is: Jiffy Pop or Redenbacher?

augusta52
augusta52

Uh, what is a “real” American? Is there an “unreal” American? A “false” American?

Noway2016
Noway2016

I actually expected CC to be the first to respond to that! LOL! Yall are getting too damn predictable!

Ellynn
Ellynn

Predictable is not one of my strong suits… I like to exceed your expectations. As to the switchboard- it’s been going off line for weeks. Where have you been?

Noway2016
Noway2016

And you always do! I think of you as “alluringly mysterious!” Good morning, E!

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

The “Real Americans” on Twitter are include an inordinate amount of Russian spam bots, but hey, who has time for that when you can CLICK HERE for this cool new LIBRUL TEARS MUG! To seriously address your question, there are 25 Democratic seats up in 2018 vs. 8 Republican. Only 1 Republican seat is in a state Clinton won (NV). There are 10 Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won in 2016 (MT, ND, WI, MO, MI, IN, OH, PA, WV, FL). In other words, the map doesn’t look great for Democrats, defensively or offensively. They only plausible road… Read more »

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

Collective Amnesia must be a Congressional job requirement. Interesting how we hear the same phrases tossed back back and forth between parties as if these tactics were suddenly new and used for the first time against the other side.
No, dear elected officials you just used used the same tactics against your colleagues in the past year, or four, or eight, or twelve, or twenty four….
Oh, the hypocrisy, the hypocrisy.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Who knew “every nominee deserves an up or down vote” Isakson, mute for months about the Garland nomination, would be upset Price isn’t promptly getting an up or down vote?.