White House press secretary Sean Spicer is absolutely indignant that Senate Democrats are holding up the president’s nominations and in some cases, not even holding a hearing.
Spicer, a longtime policy and political figure in Washington, is undoubtedly familiar with the stalling tactics of the Senate. His job now is to make the frustration seem new and unfair.
But for regular attendees of the White House daily press briefing, Spicer’s comments now are nearly verbatim quotes from the lips of his predecessor, former White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“The Senate Democrats have done everything in their power to slow the work of the Senate,” Spicer complained today to reporters from the podium.
“The idea that these highly qualified nominees have the votes for their nominations to be endorsed at a committee and get a full vote are being stalled because Democrats are boycotting the committee vote is outrageous,” Spicer said.
The lament is eerily similar to Earnest’s complaints that Senate Republicans were refusing to consider or even meet with President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
“Republicans have offered no substantive reason for their refusal to give Chief Judge Garland, the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in our history, a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote,” Earnest fumed in October 2016.
Almost as frustrating for Democrats was the GOP obstruction of Adam Szubin to be undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes at the Department of the Treasury.
On April 16, 2015, Obama nominated Szubin as a key official in the fight against ISIL.
Nearly a year later, in February 2016, Earnest lamented to reporters that he had talked about Szubin many times. “There is no reason for him to be the victim of such partisan obstruction,” he said.
And not just Szubin, but nominees to the Export-Import Bank, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve had not been considered by the Senate Banking Committee because “Republicans on the committee refuse to do their job,” Earnest said.
More than 20 months later, Szubin’s nomination died at the end of the Obama administration.
Notably, in a nod to his qualifications, Republican President Donald Trump asked Szubin to hold over in his position as acting undersecretary in his administration.
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