Congressional oversight

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by major56, Nov 27, 2015.

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  1. major56

    major56 Active Member

    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.
     
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The Senate should do it's job. This is the opposite. It isn't oversight; it's blocking one action in order to deal with another issue.

    I'm fine with senators holding up bills in order to squeeze changes for them from the opposition. That's their right and role. But not hearing and voting on presidential appointments is an abandonment of their Constitutional duty.
     
  3. major56

    major56 Active Member

    A tactic utilized by both Parties (blocking political appointees) …

    E.g., "...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."
     
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Garbage. The GOP has chosen to block nominations for no legitimate reason. That's been their political tactic as long as they've held the Senate majority. But that's okay. This shall pass.
     
  5. major56

    major56 Active Member

    You may want to reread the article Rich. Of course ... perception is the reality in so many instances.
     
  6. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    What legitimate reason(s) has this President had for his attempts to go around Congress with Executive Orders?
     
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That's the point. They are two different issues. The Congress can do more than one thing at a time, can't it? It can do its job on appointments while doing what it can to check the President where it thinks he's over-stepped on executive actions. (Which, as we know, he's done about as much as his predecessor.)

    But no. The GOP in Congress have been quite vocal about resisting the President at every turn. Shutting down the government, threatening not to pay its bills, and refusing to do its Constitutional duty regarding Presidential appointments are just a few examples. They've been the biggest do-nothings in modern U.S. history. It's hateful.
     
  8. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Likely similar reasons for past prsidents:

    Executive orders by presidents per year in office*
    Obama 33.8
    Bush 36.4
    Clinton 45.5
    Bush 41.5
    Reagan 47.6
    Carter 80.0
    Ford 69
    Nixon 62.3

    *Through Nov 20, 2014
     
  9. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Like with so many other things with this President, he's sneaky about his misuse of executive powers. His use of Presidential Memorandums, which carry the same legal authority as an Executive Order (they just don't have to be listed in the Federal Register) is through the roof.

    And, these aren't memorandums about making March 17th National Clam Day or something, he's used PM's for things such as infringements on gun rights and Obamacare mandates. How any clear-thinking person can look at his record and not realize that he wants to be an autocrat is beyond me.
     
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Citation, please? Especially one that demonstrates that this President uses (or abuses, your choice) this practice more than his predecessors, please. Otherwise, no he didn't.
     
  11. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Kessler in the WaPo doesn't say what you imply he says. In fact, he concludes that he can't come to a conclusion on the subject. At no point, however, is there an indication that what the President does with executive orders, memoranda, or other actions is wrong. As the article says, the President has issued far fewer executive orders, and the rest of the picture is murky for everyone, not just Obama.

    I'm fine with the courts and the Congress checking the Executive's power. That's their role.
     

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