The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Dem senator puts a hold on one nominee - why not Bolton?

The Senate 'hold' is the current bĂȘte noire here: a mysterious piece of inside baseball mumbo-jumbo maintained in obscurity by a pol-journo conspiracy to keep the voter out of the loop.

Or so it appears.

It's exquisitely unsearchable; so like the ivory-billed woodpecker, when you spot one, it's a red-letter day.

An AP story says
Senate Republicans will try this week to overcome a Democratic senator's block on President Bush's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Republicans on Wednesday set up a confrontation over the hold on Stephen Johnson's nomination imposed by Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del. Undoing that Senate hold can require a lengthy process and a motion requiring a 60-vote majority in the 100-member body.

Now, Carper's [1] 'hold' is what one might call collateral: he doesn't object to the nomination, he's using the 'hold' as blackmail to extract certain information from the EPA.

A lot of confirmation 'holds' are like that, apparently. Boxer and Nelson (FL) had holds on Johnson which they lifted
only after Johnson canceled a pesticide study in Florida involving children.

But it is, I think, perfectly permissible to put a 'hold' on with a view to balking the nomination itself.

The obvious question is, why have Dems not used the 'hold' in dealing with various high-profile nominations viewed as toxic by many amongst their number. Rice, Negroponte (several times) - and now Bolton?

Are some nominees too 'big' to be subject to a 'hold'?

(The floor votes on such nominations tend to be of the Uriah Heap 98-1 variety, so far as I'm aware. Which suggests that the problem is not the availability of the means (ie, the 'hold') but the lack of will amongst Dem senators.)

  1. One of MBNA's breeding pair of Blue Hens in the Senate, of course.


Here's a thought: in these hyperlinked days, why not a site recording all known Senate 'holds'?

Perhaps there is one: I did say the expression was unsearchable...

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