According to media reports, Richard Shelby has placed a blanket “hold” on all executive branch nominations in an effort to secure federal spending in his state.
“Senator Shelby’s move is deeply cynical and an abuse of Senate procedure,” said Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “The American people deserve a functioning government, but Senator Shelby would rather hobble important agencies that keep us safe and provide important services than risk losing some pork barrel projects for his own state. Conservative commentators have slammed Democrats negotiating deals that pale in comparison to this. I hope they’ll be aggressive in pointing out Senator Shelby’s behavior, but I’m not holding my breath.”
Senator Shelby is angry about the Pentagon’s bidding process for air-to-air refueling tankers and funding for a research center to be built in his state. His hold effectively blocks votes on more than 70 executive branch nominees, including officials in the Army, Air Force, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and Department of State.
“To block votes on U.S. Attorneys, key positions in the armed forces, and nominees tasked with overseeing the disposal of radioactive waste in order to wring a few more dollars from the federal government in dangerously irresponsible,” said Keegan. “Senator Shelby is doing an immense disservice to all Americans, including his own constituents. When voters voice their anger about the gridlock and partisanship in Washington, this is exactly what they’re talking about.”
Keegan pointed out that Senator Shelby’s extreme efforts to grab more federal dollars for his state could lead some to call him a Fiscal Conservative In Name Only.
“He’d better watch out,” said Keegan. “Carly Fiorina’s sheep may want to have a few words with him.”