Tag Archives: US Senate

GOP continues to hide the ball on Brett Kavanaugh and rush his confirmation (Updated)

The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh last week raised more questions than were answered. Democrats want the confirmation slowed down so there is time to receive documents not yet produced by the National Archives — only 10 percent of documents have been made available so far — But Republican leaders continue to reject their reasonable requests by labeling documents that have been produced “committee confidential” and rushing to a Judiciary Committee vote next week.

This is not normal. This is what GOP authoritarianism looks like. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos sounds the alarm, Grassley and fellow Republicans continue slow murder of democracy in Kavanaugh hearing:

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee tried and failed to slow down the confirmation process on Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in Thursday morning’s meeting. At the outset, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) moved to adjourn, pointing out the total farce this nomination and committee process has been. “There’s no way to seek justice. I am hear under protest. There is fundamental injustice here.” Grassley proceeded with the meeting, setting a vote on the nomination for next week.

Sen. Feinstein then moved to subpoena the hundreds of thousands of documents from Kavanaugh’s Bush White House service that have been withheld, and was voted down by 11-10, all Republicans voting to keep the nation in the dark. A second motion “to subpoena 100,000 documents denied to the committee through a bogus assertion of ‘constitutional privilege'” followed, also defeated 11-10. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) moved to subpoena documents from Kavanaugh’s Bush White House service related native Hawaiians and indigenous people, and was defeated 11-10.

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Arizona Tea-Publicans want to negate the Seventeenth Amendment

Here we go again … the Tenthers and Secessionists in the Arizona Legislature want to negate the Seventeenth Amendment (popular election of U.S. Senators) and return the selection of senators to the Arizona legislature.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Panel okays proposal for state lawmakers to tap U.S. Senate nominees:

Claiming they’re being ignored by John McCain and Jeff Flake, Republican state legislators took the first steps Tuesday to allowing them — and not the voters — to choose who gets to run for the U.S. Senate.

On a 6-3 party-line vote, members of the House Committee on Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy approved a  measure which would give lawmakers the power to nominate Senate candidates. Legislators from each political party would choose two nominees for each open seat, with the four names going on the general election ballot.

HCR 2022 now goes to the full House. If it gets approved there and by the Senate, the change would have to be ratified by voters in November.

In essence, the proposal would partly return Arizona to the way things were prior to 1913 when U.S. senators were chosen outright by the legislatures of each state, with no popular vote at all.

The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution overruled that, providing for direct election of senators in the same way voters get to choose members of the House of Representatives. But Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, said nothing in that amendment requires a popular vote to determine who gets to be on that general election ballot.

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Time to question John McCain’s capacity and competency to serve (updated)

Arizona’s angry old man, Senator John McCain, is not a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but he is an “ex officio” of the committee, so he was allowed to participate in today’s testimony by former FBI Director James Comey.

The local media tried to build up John McCain as “playing a key role” in the questioning of James Comey, because the local media all kiss his wrinkled old butt. See this ABC 15 report. John McCain to question James Comey at Thursday’s congressional hearing.

Sen. McCain went last in questioning today as an “ex officio” of the committee, and hoo-boy! Was that ever a disturbing and deeply embarrassing performance, both for him and for this state.

It was as if someone woke up Grandpa Simpson from his nap and he started spouting off on a different topic from what everyone else had been talking about for the past two plus hours.

McCain appeared dazed and confused, frequently confusing “Mr. Comey” for “Mr. Trump,” and everyone – including James Comey – was staring at him with pained expressions on their face wondering to themselves “what the hell is he talking about?”

Here is how Foreign Policy describes McCain’s bizarre performance. What on Earth Was John McCain Asking James Comey?

During former FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated testimony Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) launched into a strange line of inquiry that puzzled Comey and everybody watching the hearing. While questioning Comey, the one-time Republican president candidate seemed to confuse the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the campaign with the closed probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

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The battle over a stolen SCOTUS seat begins today

Today’s the day: Donald Trump Supreme Court choice announcement coming Tuesday 8 p.m. ET.

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post reports:

Burgess Everett (Politico) reports that Democrats look like they’re ready to pull the trigger on a filibuster of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee:

Senate Democrats are going to try to bring down President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick no matter who the president chooses to fill the current vacancy.

With Trump prepared to announce his nominee on Tuesday evening, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in an interview on Monday morning that he will filibuster any pick that is not Merrick Garland and that the vast majority of his caucus will oppose Trump’s nomination. That means Trump’s nominee will need 60 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.

“This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,” Merkley said in an interview. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”

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Ethics schmethics: GOP to ram through Trump cabinet nominees without proper vetting

Congressional Tea-Publicans, to borrow a term from football, are going to a spread offense with five receivers to flood the zone with Trump’s cabinet nominee confirmation hearings this week.

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Cabinet nominees are not supposed to get a confirmation hearing until they have completed their background check by federal law, but our authoritarian Tea-Publicans say “Meh, we’re going to jam through Trump’s nominees this week without completing their background checks. Laws are for little people, not for millionaire and billionaire Plutocrats!” Senate Confirmation Hearings to Begin Without All Background Checks:

As Senate Republicans embark on a flurry of confirmation hearings this week, several of Donald J. Trump’s appointees have yet to complete the background checks and ethics clearances customarily required before the Senate begins to consider cabinet-level nominees.

Republicans, who are expected to hold up to five hearings on Wednesday alone, say they simply want to ensure that the new president has a team in place as soon as possible. “I believe all the president-elect’s cabinet appointments will be confirmed,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said.

But Democrats are calling for the process to be slowed and for the hearings to be spread out. That, they say, would allow more time to vet the nominees. “Our first overarching focus is getting tax returns and ethics forms,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota.

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