Report: Cloture votes on nominees just for show

It’s nothing personal against an Obama nominee when Republicans vote against limiting debate, or cloture. It’s just part of the show.

A new report released Wednesday from Common Cause, a liberal good government group, illustrates just that. It shows that while many cloture votes on nominees are hyperpartisan, when it comes to the final confirmation vote, the nominees sail through. More than a dozen U.S. district judges, for examples, have been confirmed unanimously:


(Common Cause)

Republicans would argue that the votes are two separate issues. One is the battle between parties over filibuster rights, and the other is the merits of the nominee. But Democrats and Common Cause contend that the constant cloture votes are a delay tactic that keeps presidential appointees waiting months to start their jobs.


(Common Cause)

Even with the Senate’s November 2013 rule change that requires 51 votes instead of the usual 60 to cut off debate, there are still 258 nominees awaiting confirmations, and many are uncontroversial career bureaucrats.

“Such delays also create tremendous uncertainty in the lives of Americans who put themselves forward for public service and could dissuade our best and brightest from joining the government’s ranks,” the Common Cause report concludes.

As the Loop often notes, for example, more than two dozen career diplomats’ lives are on pause as they wait months to move to their overseas U.S. ambassador post.

But it’s nothing personal.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · May 7