- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2001

Majority Leader Tom Daschle may not adjourn the Senate during the Christmas holiday in an attempt to prevent the White House from installing some of its blocked nominees through recess appointments.

Republicans say the White House is considering a procedural move to bypass the Democrat-controlled Senate to get President Bush's administrative team in place.

The first recess appointment under consideration is Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as Labor Department solicitor.

Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, was blocking that nomination and suggested this week he would keep the Senate in a pro forma session through January and not grant the yearly holiday to prevent the appointment.

"I think it is unfortunate we are playing these kinds of games," said Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican and a leading supporter of Mr. Scalia's nomination.

"It is absolutely unconscionable to me that they would go to this extreme to simply punish the father of an appointee," Mr. Santorum said.

"It's disgusting, and it's outrageous," he added.

However, the House could play a role in forcing a recess to allow the appointment, as both chambers must adjourn as a whole, said one Bush administration official.

Republicans say Democrats are blocking the nomination in retaliation for Justice Scalia's vote in last year's Supreme Court decision that helped end the deadlocked presidential race in favor of Mr. Bush.

Republicans are threatening to block all legislation put forth by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee responsible for moving Mr. Scalia's nomination.

Mr. Kennedy's spokesman denies Democratic opposition is based on politics but says Mr. Scalia's record on protecting workers is inadequate.

"Sen. Kennedy feels Mr. Scalia is a vehement opponent of the basic rights of workers, opposing ergonomics and ridiculing the science that supports these protections," said spokesman Jim Manley.

"Not once in his career as a labor attorney has he represented a worker in court," Mr. Manley said. "Far from protecting rights of workers, he is advocating undermining worker protections, going even so far as to suggest complaints filed by workers of pain are often just an excuse not to work."

Republicans say Mr. Scalia is qualified for the job and that his position on ergonomics is shared by a majority in the Senate.

"The only thing that is holding Scalia from being confirmed is the fact that he is the son of his father, Judge Scalia," said Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"In the great Scottish wars of the 17th and 18th century, the king would prescribe a name, and if you had that last name, you were subject to be hung. It appears that Senator Daschle has prescribed a name, and that name is Scalia if you have that name you will not come up for confirmation," Mr. Gregg said.

"This is petty, it is vindictive, and it is below the purposes of the Senate, but it is the way the Senate is being operated right now by the majority party, and for my part, I find it inexcusable," he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has told Mr. Daschle he will place a hold on all administrative nominees until his $860 million small-business assistance bill is passed.

"It is my hope that this hold will be short-lived, as it will lead to more serious negotiations and ultimately Senate consideration of [the bill]," Mr. Kerry said in a letter to Mr. Daschle on Wednesday. "However, I am prepared to keep this hold in place until the Senate considers our bill."


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