Think that Sen. Lindsey Graham’s continued threat to hold up all of the White House’s nominees means the Senate won’t be voting on any of President Obama’s picks?
It might not be so simple.
Not that getting through the Senate has ever been a cakewalk for any of the White House’s job candidates, but there are folks who still could see floor votes despite Graham’s warning that he would block all nominees until the White House makes available for congressional testimony the witnesses who survived the deadly attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
First of all, the South Carolina Republican’s threat apparently only applies to new nominees teed up for Senate action (or, in legislative parlance, “placed on the Executive Calendar”). There were plenty of otherwise non-controversial names on that list as of Oct. 28, when Graham first issued the threat.
Since that date, the Senate approved nominees, including Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board and Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly to the Federal Communications Commission. And Graham said Sunday during an appearance on CNN that he had also released his hold on two additional ambassador nominations, which means they could get floor votes, too.
Getting nominations through has been difficult of late, Graham’s bluster notwithstanding — Senate Democrats already figured that the toxic partisan atmosphere meant that many of Obama’s picks already needed 60 votes to win approval.
If he remains unsatisfied on the Benghazi probe, Graham could very well hold up some high-profile nominations, including Jeh Johnson to head the Department of Homeland Security and Janet Yellen to be the new Fed chief.
But even if he doesn’t get his witnesses, it looks like there’s still some wiggle room.