GOP’s Submission Hold - Blocking Obama’s appointees is one way to counter overreach and stonewalling. By Kimberley A. Strassel Updated Nov. 26, 2015 4:51 p.m. ET The GOP Here's the article if not able to access the above WSJ link: When Chuck Schumer feels compelled to dial up a grouchy conference call with the press, it usually means Republicans are doing something right. In this case what’s right is a strategy by the Republican Senate, which is refusing to confirm a slew of President Obama’s nominees to key posts. GOP senators are issuing “holds” on appointees and explaining that they will continue until the administration accedes to specific demands. Judging by the number, volume and bitterness of Democrats’ howls, this is getting the White House’s attention. “We should be fighting ISIS with all hands on deck, not with one hand tied behind our back,” complained Mr. Schumer on his recent call, suggesting that the fight against terrorism might improve if the State and Defense departments simply had more people to not implement Mr. Obama’s non-policy in Syria and Iraq. “Why are nonpartisan public-service positions being used as political pawns?” grumped Harry Reid, from his usual grumping ground on the Senate floor. The answer, as Mr. Reid well knows, is that the holds are proving to be one of the Republican Senate majority’s best means of negotiating with this intransigent White House. Barack Obama isn’t willing to sign bills to improve ObamaCare or rein in spending or even tighten vetting for refugees. The administration continues to block basic congressional oversight. And the president still shows withering contempt for Congress and the law, threatening to go around both whenever he doesn’t get his way. The holds are a small, sometimes effective way to extract concessions. The best holds are those that come with specific demands—and most of these do. Iowa’s Chuck Grassley placed a hold on three senior State Department officials, which he says will continue until the department delivers documents related to Hillary Clinton’s email and staff—requests it has stonewalled since 2013. Nebraska’s Ben Sasse is holding all nominees to the Health and Human Services Department until the administration coughs up answers to specific questions about ObamaCare’s failed co-ops. Tom Cotton of Arkansas is holding three would-be ambassadors until the administration investigates the Secret Service’s ugly leak of unflattering information about a GOP congressman. Kansas’ Pat Roberts is holding Mr. Obama’s nominee for secretary of the Army until the White House rules out using executive action to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. All told, more than 100 nominees are awaiting either committee or floor action—and they aren’t likely to get it until the administration accedes to these simple requests. Since this White House would prefer to have its own way, it has instead deputized Democrats and administration officials to complain that this partisan “hostage”-taking by Republicans is detrimental to smooth functioning of the federal government. As if there were such a concept. State Department officials have moaned that Mr. Grassley’s requests for documents are too onerous. Mr. Reid has suggested that the Iowan is simply out to get Hillary Clinton. (Because for what other reason might a senator be interested in investigating the mishandling of classified information?) Mr. Schumer and others argue that the Obama administration’s failings with ISIS, refugee policy and ObamaCare can be blamed on GOP holds that have left departments lacking staff or stuck with “acting” leaders. But Democrats did plenty of their own holding in their day. And the other complaints are downright funny. The press is documenting the many ways Mr. Obama has ignored the advice that his State Department advisers and military brass have given him to improve the fight against ISIS. This is a one-man administration. It’s a wonder Mr. Obama nominates any officials, ever. Mr. Obama is happy to leave positions unfilled if it allows him to avoid unpleasant questions. When Arne Duncan stepped down as education secretary, Mr. Obama chose to designate his successor, John King, as acting head for the rest of the president’s term—to avoid a Senate grilling over education policies. The administration has left vacant the top job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—to circumvent queries about the scandal-plagued body. For now, Democrats are fighting this strategy, trying to make the holds a liability for Republicans. But recent history suggests that a committed GOP can wring results from the process. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held up Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s vote for months, until Democrats finally agreed to a human-trafficking bill. Other senators over the past 10 months have used holds to successfully extract at least some concessions. This may not be as dramatic as repealing ObamaCare, but it does matter. One of Congress’s basic jobs is oversight, and the GOP has a particular interest in and duty to inform the electorate about Mr. Obama’s policy failings. The holds are a good sign this Republican majority knows that, and is using one of the only available tools.