Priceless. The Senate Republicans are threatening to bring the Senate to a “grinding halt” unless one of their members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is renominated and confirmed. [Las Vegas Sun] This would be the same commissioner who once declared she’d “never touched” Yucca Mountain, except of course she did. Secondly, how does one bring the current U.S. Senate to a grinding halt when it’s not going anywhere in the first place. Have the Senate Republicans taken a look recently at the voluminous list of nominees for ANYTHING who still have their confirmations tied up in committees?
Ten nominations under the jurisdiction of the Senate Armed Services Committee who would take positions in the Pentagon or with Court of Military Commission Review are stalled. The nomination of a person to be a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been tied up in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee since January 24th. Four nominations are still pending from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, another three are still to be confirmed from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee list.
Six confirmation votes remain for nominees subject to the jurisdiction of the Senate Committee on Finance. Twenty-two nominees have yet to get a confirmation vote who are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee list. Twenty-four nominees have yet to have a confirmation vote from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions listing. Another eight nominations on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee have yet to get confirmed.
Three nominees whose candidacy goes back to March 2011 have yet to be confirmed who were subject to the jurisdiction of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. A whopping thirty-three nominations subject to the jurisdiction of the Senate Judiciary Committee have yet to get a confirmation vote. Three more nominations concerning Veterans Affairs still await a confirmation vote.
For all intents and purposes the list thus far already looks like a Grinding Halt. Perhaps there are nuanced differences between Grinding Halts and Screeching Halts?
On all other matters, the Senate has taken a grand total of sixty-six roll call votes since the beginning of the second session of the 112th Congress in January. Of the sixty-six roll call votes thus far 11 were votes to break Republican filibusters, and 1 was on a “motion to proceed.”
Eighty-two notices of intent to filibuster have been filed in the 112th Congress, there have been forty-eight votes to invoke cloture, but the filibusters have been broken only 26 times. It really is hard to imagine that a “grinding halt” would be much worse than the current “halting” pace of the Senate.
A person might characterize inaction as a Grinding Halt, a Screeching Halt, a Total Halt, or a Complete Halt. However, when a deliberative body has accomplished so little of its business because of endless obstruction such as that listed above, it really is hard to tell if its functions have come to any kind of Halt when it’s not moving forward in the first place.