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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Napolitano Departure Could Mean Senate Minority Gets No Say On Next DHS Head If Dems Go Nuclear

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 12, 2013
The rumors that Janet Napolitano would be stepping down were confirmed today with her formal announcement that she is resigning as Department of Homeland Security secretary to take a new position as become president of the University of California system. While she did not say, White house official indicated she will leaver her position in early September. Having worked in higher education, it is hard to believe that California, especially those in higher education, were able keep quiet about considering Janet Napolitano future nomination from the public. Napolitano's 27% Approval Rating by voters in August 2012 hasn't improved. And people still want answers on what she knew about Fast and Furious. It is not surprising that people on both sides of the political spectrum are glad to see her leave.

The House was not in session today and will reconvene on Monday at 10 AM. Yesterday the House passed their version of the Farm bill after removing the controversial Food Stamp provision from the federal agricultural policy portion. Supposedly this upset both the White House and House Democrats who wanted to delay the final vote. Final Passage of H.R. 2642 was 216-208 — "Provides for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2018, and for other purposes." With two different version of the Farm Bill passed by the Senate and the House, the bills are headed to conference between the two bodies - behind closed doors. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House version of the Farm Bill: “Our farm and food stamp programs need reform. The status quo is unacceptable, which is why I voted against most of the farm bills of the past two decades, and supported this one. I’m pleased the House took a positive first step forward in providing some much-need reforms to our farm programs today. Reforming our food stamp programs is also essential."

The Senate also was not in session today and will reconvene at at 2 PM. At 6 PM, there will be a bipartisan senators-only meeting where Republicans will remind Democrats of the folly of their push for the nuclear option.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who once said “There is no way that I would employ or use the nuclear option,” set up a series of cloture votes that Democrats are planning to use to lead up to the nuclear option, where 51 Democrats would break Senate rules (by ignoring the 67 vote requirement for a rules change) to change the filibuster rule.

Reid filed for cloture on three illegally appointed nominees: Richard Cordray to be director of the Dodd-Frank-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to be members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). On the same day in January 2012, President Obama took it upon himself to unilaterally appoint Griffen, Block, and Cordray as “recess” appointments even though the Senate was not in recess at the time. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has since ruled that Obama’s appointments of Griffen and Block were unconstitutional, but Democrats are demanding these nominees be confirmed anyway.

Reid also filed cloture on the controversial nominations of Thomas Perez to be Secretary of Labor and Gina McCarthy to be the head of the EPA.

In addition, Reid filed for cloture on Mark Pearce to be an NLRB member and Fred Hochberg to be president of the Export-Import Bank.

Reid is expected to force these cloture votes on Tuesday and is threatening to use the nuclear option to strip minority rights to the filibuster if the nominees are not confirmed.

Leader McConnell countered with an offer for votes on Obama nominees, including Perez, McCarthy, Hochberg, and 3 NLRB nominees who had not been illegally appointed: Pearce, Harry Johnson, and Philip Miscimarra. Reid objected, in essence demanding the illegal appointments be approved now.

Politico points out today, “Homeland Security Security Janet Napolitano’s resignation announcement Friday adds a new dynamic to the Senate fight over filibusters of President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid carries through with his threat to change filibuster rules, Obama in theory would have major leeway to install a new homeland security secretary and circumvent GOP opposition on the Senate floor, giving the president the ability to make his choice knowing full well that he doesn’t need to attract any Republican support to confirm the nomination. . . . The rules change would immediately impact a pair of nominees currently winding their way through the committee process: Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Todd Jones to lead the ATF, who top Judiciary Committee Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has signaled he would like to stall. And there are open questions over whether those nominees can get the support of enough Republicans to defeat a filibuster. If Reid pursues a rules change for executive nominees, they wouldn’t need to. Neither would Obama’s next pick to head the Department of Homeland Security — or conceivably any other cabinet position.”

Indeed, if Reid pulls the trigger on the nuclear option, thereby violating Senate rules to changes those rules, the new Homeland Security Secretary would be the first cabinet position that could be confirmed without needing to get 60 votes in the Senate and thus any support whatsoever from the minority party.

Senate Democrats seem determined to push this manufactured crisis and do fundamental damage to the Senate and our system to checks and balances. It’s hard to say what the worst part of this whole outrageous power grab is, but it might just be that Democrats appear to be doing all this not for the immediate confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee, or any judge for that matter, nor for a cabinet nominee. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained what Democrats are doing this over in a scathing speech yesterday: “What this whole so-called crisis boils down to — what it all comes down to — are three nominees that the President unlawfully appointed, as confirmed by the courts. And one of those nominees had been held up by inaction over at the White House related to structural reforms that the Administration – and even the nominee himself – now say they are willing to work with us on.”

Even The New York Times can see what’s going on: “Mr. Reid and Democratic leaders rejected [a GOP-offered] compromise as unsatisfactory. And a compromise seems unlikely unless the nominees for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board, which is of considerable importance to the labor unions that are so crucial to the Democratic Party, are approved as well.”

As Leader McConnell said, “[T]he real reason, as I said, that the Far-Left and Big Labor are leaning hard on Democrats to ‘go nuclear’, and that the Majority Leader is about to sacrifice his reputation and this institution to go along with it, is because what they really want is for the Senate to ratify the President’s unconstitutional decision to illegally appoint nominees to the NLRB and the CFPB without the input of the Senate. They know they can’t get that done under the current rules, and they know time isn’t on their side. The second highest court in the land ruled unanimously that President Obama had no power to do what he did. Another court has since concurred, and now the Supreme Court is set to hear the case in just a few months. So this isn’t really a fight over nominees at all. It’s a fight over these illegal, unconstitutional nominees. It’s just laughable to think that Democrats would ever agree to such a thing if we were talking about a Republican President’s unlawful nominees. And it’s equally irrational to think we’d go along with this. In fact, no Senator, regardless of party, should ever consider ceding our Constitutional duties in such a way.”

When he was still a senator back in 2005, Joe Biden explained well just what he may help majority Senate Democrats do next week: “The Senate stands at the precipice of a truly historic mistake … history will judge this Majority harshly if it succeeds in changing the way the Founders intended the Senate to behave, emasculating it into a parliament governed by a single party's ideology... .  This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party… It is nothing more or nothing less.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., Janet Napolitano, resigns, House, farm bill, Senate, confirmations, Dems, nuclear option, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 3:45 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Mike Najvar said...

I can see it now as clear as a bell. Napolitano resigns because she has lost credibility by saying the border is secure because of low apprehension rates, even though the low apprehension rates are because she told them not to apprehend illegal aliens coming into our country illegally. With her gone, the rinos will all vote for amnesty because the new DHS secretary will promise that the borders will be secure. And all the rinos who feed at the public trough will fall all over each other to get on the amnesty bandwagon, because now the borders WILL be secured before any amnesty will be given. Never mind it is still obama's pick who will do what he says. They will feel they will be able to vote for amnesty because THE BORDERS WILL BE SECURE BEFORE AMNESTY ISSUED.

If you believe that, I have some ocean front property in Arizona I would like to sell you.

But I will make one suggestion for DHS Secretary that I think conservatives would agree on.

Ted Nugent.

Now that would be something to see as head of Homeland Security. I know, it will never happen.


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