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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Shady nighttime deal brokering
There is a certain irony to Sen. Harry Reid's latest cries to end filibusters when history shows more Democrats have cast votes to continue them than Republicans ("Sen. Harry Reid: Founding Fathers didn't want filibusters," Web, July 15). In fact, one of the most notable filibusters in history occurred when Democratic senators attempted to block passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Whether it is the next 1,000-page "must-pass-immediately" legislation or the latest nominee, it would be nice for Congress to let the system work for the people by realizing when there is not considerable support for something. If there is a real, critical need for specific legislation or certain positions to be filled, assume we will demand it. However, with Congress' latest approval rating at 17 percent, I am inclined to believe the people are looking for less activity and more deliberation.
The latest loggerhead was about Cabinet-level appointments. While the Democrats were all in favor of filibusters when they were the minority, Mr. Reid is no longer a fan, as Republicans denied approval of three Cabinet-level nominees. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution specifies the requirement of "advice and consent" of the Senate for appointments to such posts by the president.
For those who take the "advice and consent" clause (and, for that matter, the Constitution) seriously, have no fear. Like most legislation and important decisions at the federal level these days, there was a late-night deal made between the parties. It seems Mr. Reid went to a few guys the Democrats can typically rely on, such as Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and the do-nothing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
What kind of deal did these guardians of the Constitution broker? It looks like they have promised the votes necessary to confirm the nominees for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Labor secretary and Environmental Protection Agency secretary in exchange for forcing out the two unconstitutionally appointed National Labor Relations Board members.
Perhaps all the fuss is in vain, after all, as we now have as Labor secretary Thomas E. Perez, who infamously dropped the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation lawsuit when he was assistant attorney general.
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