Coalition Letter To Majority Leader Reid on Abolishing Filibuster for Executive Nominations

November 20, 2013



Majority Leader Reid:

Due to your strong leadership, the Senate finally confirmed a large number of obstructed nominees prior to the August recess, as well as some additional nominees this fall. The Fix the Senate Now Coalition was grateful for your commitment to those nominations, and your efforts to reform the Senate rules to ensure that each received a yes-or-no vote. However, we are disappointed that an obstructionist Senate minority has resumed its abuse of Senate rules in an attempt to thwart the confirmations of four exceptionally-qualified nominees: Representative Mel Watt to serve as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Patricia Millett, Cornelia Pillard, and Judge Robert Wilkins to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Unfortunately, these filibusters are not isolated incidents, but rather are emblematic of how rampant, ideology-based obstructionism is the new norm in the U.S. Senate. We urge you to meet this ongoing and unprecedented obstruction with another push for rules reform, sending a clear and timely message that an extreme minority cannot impose a slow-motion government shutdown by standing in the way of critical federal appointments.

Prior to your decisive action in July, an obstructionist minority blocked confirmations to vital agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, National Labor Relations Board, and the Environmental Protection Agency, solely because of their philosophical opposition to the existence of those agencies. Recently, that extreme minority held the federal government and our nation's full faith and credit hostage in an attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act-a law they failed to repeal through the legislative process.

With the government reopened, nominations are once again in the crosshairs of obstruction. The nominations of supremely qualified, mainstream candidates are threatened by a purely politically agenda: to unilaterally weaken laws or agencies that a minority of the Senate opposes. Such efforts to impose a minority ideological view, far from being a legitimate exercise of advice and consent, exploit the Senate process and threaten to paralyze our government.

In the face of such blatantly partisan obstruction, we urge you to once again move forward with plans to reform the rules governing the U.S. Senate should these nominations fail to receive a timely confirmation vote. Without rules reform, these and other critically important executive branch and judicial nominees may never get a vote on the Senate floor.

Our country cannot afford any more political obstruction. It is time to abolish the filibuster on nominations, allowing qualified nominees to receive yes-or-no confirmation votes on the Senate floor.

Sincerely,

Action for the Common Good

AFL-CIO

Alliance for a Just Society

Alliance for Justice

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington - CREW

Common Cause

Communications Workers of America

Daily Kos

Demos

Fair Share

Feminist Majority

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)

Jobs With Justice

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment

National Council of Women's Organizations

National Education Association

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

National People's Action

Service Employees International Union

Sierra Club

The Shalom Center

United Food and Commercial Workers

USAction

Woman's National Democratic Club


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