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Sen. Shelby releases holds on nominees

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By Shailagh Murray
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has released his controversial "holds" on more than 70 pending presidential nominations, his office said Monday night.

Senators, usually from the minority party, often use the legislative tactic on one or a few presidential nominees, usually to protest parochial concerns. Shelby's maneuver, aimed at nearly all appointments awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor, agitated Democrats because it would effectively limit confirmation votes to a handful per month.

Senate Democratic aides confirmed that Shelby had released most holds, but Shelby said he would continue to block other, unnamed nominees.

"The purpose of placing numerous holds was to get the White House's attention on two issues that are critical to our national security -- the Air Force's aerial refueling tanker acquisition and the FBI's Terrorist Device Analytical Center (TEDAC)," Shelby's office said in a statement. "With that accomplished, Sen. Shelby has decided to release his holds on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition."

The White House said that it agreed to none of Shelby's demands, and that the senator released the holds on his own accord.


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