WHAT: President Donald J. Trump’s nominees have been confirmed at a historically low rate.
President Trump has sent a steady stream of qualified nominees to the U.S. Senate for confirmation to positions throughout the Federal Government and the judiciary. However, the U.S. Senate is lagging behind, confirming individuals at a historically low rate and harming the effective functioning of our Government.
As of February 20, 2018, the Senate has confirmed only 51% of the President’s nominees. This dismal number stands in stark contrast to 79% for President Obama (79%), President George W. Bush (65%), President Clinton (66%), and President George H. W. Bush (74%). Obstruction by Senate Democrats has resulted in 133 fewer confirmations than President Obama. And this is notwithstanding the fact that President Trump has sent 130 more nominations to the Senate than President George H.W. Bush had.
WHY: Senate Democrats are abusing Senate procedure to stonewall the President’s nominees.
In addition to blocking the President’s nominees, Senator Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are using the nomination process as a weapon to impede other Senate business. Democrats are forcing cloture votes—which require 30 hours of debate time on the Senate floor—at an unprecedented rate. They have forced more cloture votes on the President’s nominees in just his first year in office than for the first terms of the last of the last four presidents combined. The Senate confirmed hundreds more of President Obama’s and President Clinton’s nominees than President Trump’s.
Even non-controversial nominees who are unanimously or overwhelmingly supported have been subject to 30 hours of debate because of this cynical stall tactic. Jerome Powell, nominee to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was ultimately confirmed by a vote of 84-13 following a forced cloture vote. Four recent nominees for district judgeships originally subject to cloture were later confirmed by the Senate unanimously.
This is a deliberate tactic to slow down the work of Congress and stall the business of the American people.
In fact, the Democrats’ abuse of the Senate blue slip tradition regarding judicial nominees has forced Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley to hold hearings on some judicial nominees even without the support of both state Senators. In a recent op-ed, Sen. Grassley said he has returned to the approach of 16 of the past 18 judiciary chairmen, including Joe Biden, by which blue slips are a way to ensure consultation between the President and legislature, not a means to give individual Senators a veto.