This ought to be pretty darn interesting. Friday we learned that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put a “blanket hold” on several, if not 70+ nominations for the executive branch. The move has the effect of requiring 60 Senators to vote for cloture to break it. Shelby’s office would not confirm that the senator is blocking all of Obama’s nominees, but did confirm he was blocking “several.”
Talking Points Memo has been all over this story and reported Friday:
“Sen. Shelby has placed holds on several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns,” Shelby spokesperson Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement. “Among his concerns” are the progress on multi-billion dollar defense contract that would see planes built in Mobile, AL and Obama’s decision to scrap a $45 million FBI improvised explosive device lab Shelby secured an earmark for in 2008.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back at Shelby:
“I guess if you needed one example of what’s wrong with this town, it might be that one senator can hold up 70 qualified individuals to make government work better because he didn’t get his earmarks,” Mr. Gibbs told reporters today. “If that’s not the poster child for how this town needs to change the way it works, I fear there won’t be a greater example of silliness throughout the entire year of 2010.”
One can only imagine the outrage that would ensue, the shit storm actually, at Fox News if a Democrat were holding up several nominations, much less of a Republican President, because of unfulfilled earmarks. As of this morning Fox News has not covered the story once. “Fair and Balanced,” you betcha.