A Democrat who’s running for the U.S. Senate seat has launched a website to criticize senate rules which allow senators to block confirmation votes on the president’s nominees for key government positions. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby has put a “hold” on 70 of President Obama’s nominees and Roxanne Conlin, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, says it’s just “business as usual” for the senate.
“He’s done it to get a sweetheart deal for a contractor in his home state,” Conlin says. “We can’t let that happen. We can’t let the entire government be held hostage to Senator Shelby’s wish to get special privileges for a company that is in his state. We just can’t let that happen.”
Conlin’s campaign has created a website called FightTheHold.com. Conlin says Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who she hopes to face in the fall, has the power to help get those 70 officials confirmed for their jobs in the Obama administration.
“Senator Grassley could stop this immediately,” Conlin says. “Senator Grassley could, if he voted with the Democrats, could get this hold lifted tomorrow. He has shown no inclination to do so.” Such a move is against the traditions of the U.S. Senate, however. Conlin says it’s time to change those traditions.
“As I’ve traveled about the state, I have heard nothing positive about what’s happening in Washington. People are sick to death of this kind of trickery and this kind of inefficiency and, really, obstructionism,” Conlin says. “The government must be able to function.” Shelby has said he has “national security concerns” with some pending government contracts.
One is for aerial refueling tankers and a facility in Alabama is competing for the contract. Shelby also objects to the Obama administration’s decision to hold back funding for an F.B.I facility in Alabama.