Senate Will Vote To End Democrat Filibuster Of Key National Security Nominee
‘The level of obstruction exhibited by Senate Democrats on these nominees is simply breathtaking. It’s often leaving key departments without the senior leadership needed to guide our country through the various challenges we face. And it needs to stop.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the continued obstruction by Senate Democrats of the President’s nominees, including Patrick Shanahan to serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense:
“As we all know, the nomination before the Senate today is of particular concern to Senator McCain. Just a few days ago, he, as the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee — came to the floor to underline the importance of confirming the nominee before us.
“’In order to rebuild the military,’ he said, ‘the Pentagon needs to ramp up readiness programs and embark on an ambitious plan for modernization to make sure our servicemembers are given the training, resources, and capabilities they need. To do that, the Department of Defense must have senior leadership.’ For instance, the nominee before us, Patrick Shanahan, who has been nominated to be Secretary Mattis’ deputy at the Department of Defense. ‘The position of Deputy Secretary of [Defense],’ Chairman McCain continued, ‘is one of the most critical positions in our government. It is essentially the chief operating officer of the largest, most complex organization in the world — the Department that is entrusted with ensuring our national security.’
“And yet, as he noted, the position is now vacant. Friday was the last day of work for the previous Deputy Secretary of Defense. And Democrats, who do not oppose Mr. Shanahan’s confirmation on the merits, are throwing up procedural hurdles that guarantee this critical national-security position will remain vacant a while longer.
“Why? To change an outcome? No, not to change an outcome. As I said, many Democrats actually support Patrick Shanahan’s nomination. He commands the bipartisan support of the Armed Services Committee, which reported his nomination out by voice vote, and he’s earned praise from across the aisle. As one Democratic Senator put it, ‘[Patrick Shanahan’s] entire career has been about solving problems no one else can solve, and these skills would be invaluable at DOD. She’s right.
“Then why is her party playing games with his nomination? These are the same games we’ve seen before. Take the Ambassador to China. Democrats voted with us to confirm him, 82 to 13. They forced the Senate to waste days on useless procedural votes getting there. Take the Ambassador to Japan we considered last week. Democrats voted with Republicans to confirm him, 86 to 12, yet they still forced unnecessary procedural hurdles along the way.
“Perhaps the most egregious example of this was the noncontroversial judicial nominee from Idaho we also considered last week. Like the nominee before us, the committee of jurisdiction reported out his nomination by voice vote. Yet, also like the nominee before us, Democrats threw up unnecessary procedural hurdles on his nomination. When we took the vote to end debate on this judicial nominee from Idaho, they all joined with us to say that debate on his nomination was not necessary — and then insisted on two more days of ‘non-debate’ before voting with us to confirm him 100-0.
“So it doesn’t really matter whether the nominee has been nominated to serve in the judiciary, or work as an ambassador, or serve in the Treasury Department, or head an intelligence agency, or sit on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Democrats have shown time and again that they are willing to force needless procedural votes on nominees they actually support in order to waste the Senate’s time — and, presumably, with the simultaneous goal of impeding the president’s ability to make almost any appointments at all. If this trend continues, it will take us more than 11 years to confirm the remaining presidential appointments. Let me repeat that. More than 11 years. A presidential term lasts 4.
“The level of obstruction exhibited by Senate Democrats on these nominees is simply breathtaking. It’s often leaving key departments without the senior leadership needed to guide our country through the various challenges we face. And it needs to stop. The Senate needs to confirm Mr. Shanahan quickly — for the sake of our national security. And our colleagues need to stop this immediately — for the sake of our country.”
Related Issues: Nominations, National Security, Senate Democrats