May 9, 2013
“Republicans will use any procedural roadblock or stall tactic available to deny the President qualified nominees.”
“This type of blanket, partisan obstruction used to be unheard of. Now it has become an unacceptable pattern.”
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Republicans’ partisan obstruction of qualified nominees. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
By now Republicans’ tactics of obstruction and delay are well known and well worn. Those methods were once again on display yesterday when Republicans delayed for the second time in two weeks a Senate HELP Committee vote on the nomination of Tom Perez to lead the Department of Labor.
The able and considerate Chairman Harkin had already postponed the vote for two weeks to accommodate Republicans, who requested more time to review documents related Mr. Perez’s nomination. It was terribly disappointing that, after Chairman Harkin granted additional time as a matter of courtesy, an anonymous Republican would employ an arcane procedural tactic to prevent the Committee from voting on this nomination.
Republicans had seven weeks – 49 days – to consider this nomination. Mr. Perez was nominated March 21. And since his confirmation hearing in April, he has responded in writing to more than 200 questions.
Tom Perez is an extremely qualified nominee. He is the son of immigrants. He paid his way through college working as a garbage collector and at a warehouse. And he went on to become the first lawyer in his family.
Mr. Perez was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to serve as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, where he helped implement the country’s first statewide living-wage law. And in his current role as the head of the United States Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Tom Perez helped settle cases on behalf of families targeted by unfair mortgage lending.
As anyone can see, he is an extremely qualified nominee. His knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding Secretary of Labor. Unfortunately, impressive qualifications and exceptional character are no longer enough to satisfy Senate Republicans.
Instead of a fair and constructive confirmation process, Republicans have chosen to play partisan, political games with dozens of President Obama’s appointees.
Republicans have also slow-walked the nomination of dedicated public servant Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Just this morning, the Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sent a letter to Chairman Boxer indicating they will boycott committee markup of Ms. McCarthy’s nomination. This type of blanket, partisan obstruction used to be unheard of. Now it has become an unacceptable pattern.
Republicans will use any procedural roadblock or stall tactic available to deny the President qualified nominees. But my Republican colleagues can try every trick in the book. I assure you Mr. Perez will have his day in the Senate. I assure you Ms. McCarthy will have her day in the Senate. And I will do all that I can to ensure these highly qualified nominees are confirmed.
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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