The president nominates a congressman to lead a national
housing finance agency. A majority of the Senate supports the nomination. The
Such is life in the United States Senate, once known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of
saw his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency shot down today.
Senators voted 56 to 42 to advance his nomination, but Senate rules require 60
votes to overcome a filibuster. Charlotte
Those rules have rendered presidential nominations meaningless, and must be changed. The Constitution gives the president the responsibility to nominate agency heads. The Senate has the duty to confirm or not confirm the president’s appointments.
These days, though, many nominees never get an up-or-down vote. It takes only 40 senators to sustain a filibuster. Civics courses across
be overhauled to do away with the notion that a majority vote wins. America
Either that, or rein in the filibuster. Presidents – including future Republican presidents – cannot run an executive branch if a minority of obstructionists eliminate their ability to make appointments to key jobs.
Republicans argue they needed to block Watt’s nomination because he is unqualified. The truth is they are playing politics. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for example, has vowed to block all of Obama’s nominations regardless of qualifications until he gets a hearing he wants on
. Benghazi, Libya
Watt, by the way, was a Yale Law graduate and business lawyer before becoming a housing policy leader in the House and a leading member of the House Financial Services Committee. That’s why Republican Sen. Richard Burr, former Bank of America chief Hugh McColl and housing industry leaders have supported his nomination.
And if he’s not qualified? Take a vote and defeat his nomination.
The filibuster rules are freezing the Senate and would do so whichever party is in power. Change them now.
-- Taylor Batten