The Washington Post

Lindsey Graham’s block complicates path for nominees

Sen. Lindsey Graham announced he will oppose nominees. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Sen. Lindsey Graham announced he will oppose nominees. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s TV-viewing habits are having quite the ripple effect. Had he not caught Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” segment about the deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi — instead of,  say, a football game or perhaps Bravo’s new episode of  “I Dream of NeNe” — things might be looking different this week for a deep slate of White House nominees.

The South Carolina Republican announced Monday that he planned to hold up all nominees in the Senate until the survivors of the Benghazi attack are made available to testify before Congress.

First, some observers noted that Graham’s umbrage was perfectly timed for a week in which at least two controversial nominees are set to get Senate votes. They include Richard Griffin to be the top lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board and three judges to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, beginning with Patricia Millett.

Graham’s Benghazi huff comes just as his fellow Senate Republicans were making noises about stonewalling the D.C. court nominees. “Republicans should remain united in blocking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attempt to pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” Sen. John Cornyn wrote last week in an op-ed on the FOX News website.

Coincidental timing, perhaps?

Beyond the immediate, controversial nominees,  there are a handful of key national-security posts that are all queued up.

At the Pentagon, there’s Jessica Garfola Wright to be undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, Marcel Lettre to be principle deputy undersecretary, and Deborah Lee James to be Secretary of the Air Force. And Suzanne Spaulding is awaiting a vote to be undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security.

Also ready for a vote is President Obama’s pick for Federal Communications Commission chairman, Tom Wheeler, though it seems that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is still holding up that vote, seeking answers from Wheeler about whether he would seek disclosures of who pays for political television ads.

Other high-profile nominees include Katherine Archuleta to head the Office of Management and Budget and Rep. Mel Watt (R-N.C.) to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

With nomination fights looming, these folks might want to get comfortable — and hope senators stick to watching Sunday night football.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

in-the-loop

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.