GOP Senator blocks all Obama nominees until he gets his pork.

I wonder if all the conservatives who bashed Nelson will be up in arms over this? I wonder if Beck will call Shelby a whore? Well of course not, that’s not how it works…

Report: Shelby Blocks All Obama Nominations In The Senate Over AL Earmarks

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/report-shelby-blocks-all-obam...

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold" on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.

"While holds are frequent," CongressDaily's Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report (sub. req.), "Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal."

The Mobile Press-Register picked up the story early this afternoon. The paper confirmed Reid's account of the hold, and reported that a Shelby spokesperson "did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking confirmation of the senator's action or his reason for doing so."

Shelby has been tight-lipped about the holds, offering only an unnamed spokesperson to reporters today to explain them. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke the news of the blanket hold this afternoon. Reid aides told CongressDaily the hold extends to "all executive nominations on the Senate calendar."

According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama's nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track. The two programs Shelby wants to move forward or else:

- A $40 billion contract to build air-to-air refueling tankers. From CongressDaily: "Northrop/EADS team would build the planes in Mobile, Ala., but has threatened to pull out of the competition unless the Air Force makes changes to a draft request for proposals." Federal Times offers more details on the tanker deal, and also confirms its connection to the hold.

- An improvised explosive device testing lab for the FBI. From CongressDaily: "[Shelby] is frustrated that the Obama administration won't build" the center, which Shelby earmarked $45 million for in 2008. The center is due to be based "at the Army's Redstone Arsenal."

Though a Shelby spokesperson would not confirm that these programs were behind the blanket hold, the Senator expressed his frustration about the progress on both through a spokesperson to both CongressDaily and the Federal Times.

A San Diego State University professor and Congressional expert told the Mobile paper "he knew of no previous use of a blanket hold" in recent history.

No votes yet

The socialists control both Houses, and the evecutive branch. All they have to do is draft their legislation, pass it, and hand it over to be signed. The same for appointees. The libs have all the votes they need-and have gotten absolutely NOTHING done, at least as far as all their promises are concerned. Unless someone wants to include giving Wall Street, and the Fat-Cat bankers all the money they want, as what they promised to do for us last year.

You have no idea how the senate works. Please stop talking...

Republicans place a hold on every nominee, forcing the filing of cloture, followed by 30 hours of debate, followed by a vote, followed by 30 hours of post-cloture debate. Frequently the post-cloture time is waived because Senators what to get out of town for the weekend. This week the Senate basically moved 2 nominees, and nothing else. Moving 70 nominees would take 8 months, under this standard.

Hey chump-it doesn't look like the Senate's doing ANY work, or getting anything done for that matter. Which, of course, is why most of the Senators up for re-election will get shown the door. And good riddance.

Also, it's funny, now that Obama and Democrats want to re-regulate Wall Street and tax their tax payer funded bonuses, it’s the Republicans crying. It’s not the Tea Baggers that got Brown elected it was Wall Street banks wanting to keep the status quo.

More -

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/02/05/shelby-tries-to-shut-down-u...

The key issue is that Shelby wants the Air Force to tweak an RFP for refueling tankers so that Airbus (partnered with Northrup Grumman) would win the bid again over Boeing. The contract had been awarded in 2008, but the GAO found that the Air Force had erred in calculating the award. After the Air Force wrote a new contract in preparation to rebid the contract, Airbus calculated that it would not win the new bid, and started complaining. Now, Airbus is threatening to withdraw from the competition unless the specs in the RFP are revised.

Essentially, then, Shelby’s threat is primarily about gaming this bidding process to make sure Airbus–and not Boeing–wins the contract (there’s a smaller program he’s complaining about, too, but this is the truly huge potential bounty for his state).

I understand why any Senator would fight for jobs in his or her state. And I understand that there was dirty corruption in this original contracting process.

But underlying the refueling contract is the question of whether the US military ought to spend what may amount to $100 billion over the life of the contract with a foreign company, Airbus. Particularly a company that the WTO found preliminarily to be illegally benefiting from subsidies from European governments.

Richard Shelby is preparing to shut down the Senate to try to force the government to award a key military function to a foreign company.

If - and this is a big 'if' - his block is because of pork, it's wrong.

Now let's see all the liberals take the same position on Dems...

Of course, this is all speculation, as the article itself admits that Shelby offered no explanation for the blocks.

Because it's speculation, the headline here and in the original story would have been better asked as a question (Is GOP Senator blocking all Obama nominees until he gets his pork?) rather than presented as a conclusion.

Of course, his blocks could be retaliation for what's going on in the Senate Banking Committee:

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/79943-dodd-to-move-forward-alone-talk...

According to that article, Dodd is going to go ahead even though he has no concensus on the committee. This is as likely a reason for the blocks as the pork.

* note, too, that I haven't bothered to attack the source of the speculation and dismiss it outright because they lean left in their philosophies.

...for the holds from Shelby's office:

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/full-statement-from-she...

My take is that it has to do with transparency ( or lack thereof ) in bid processes and the failure to spend monies appropriated for anti-terrorism related activities.

Here's my question - when the funding for the anti-terrorism appropriation was voted on, did the Dems support it to? Are they as upset as Shelby that the money isn't being spent?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not for spending money just because Congress says to, but national defense is at least a Constitutionally authorized purpose of the federal government.

If Shelby was so worried about national security then why filibuster several appointees who have jurisdiction of national security.

As for the transparency on the bidding process, it’s transparent enough for Airbus to know they won’t get it, that’s why there bitching. Why would he care if the US government spends $40 Billion dollars on the French Airbus full tankers anyway?

It doesn’t matter If they are assembled in his state does it? After all Shelby has made it patently clear that spending money on government programs doesn't create jobs. Remember, Shelby, along with every other GOP member of Congress (save three) voted against the stimulus package because they didn't believe America was having a jobs crisis, and they continue to attack the President for his "socialist" notion that the government can spend and create/save jobs.

...such wonderful CYA moment, full of beautiful rhetoric. Love that they even said "administration's coddling of terrorists" just to try and throw a great sucker punch in. You can tell, I think, how worried the press team is by how aggressive they become towards accusations...

We need to cut spending....Just not on anything that might affect my constituents.

Is Congress granted the power to provide funds for the Air Force? I don't see anything in Article 1, section 8 that specifically mentions provisions for an air force.

See why originalism is bad idea?

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

How about filibustering the prez, like Bork got filibustered? That's good enough for me.

Bork? Seriously? I was like 9 years old. That's how far you have to go back to be outraged and hold a grudge? You are an angry , angry man...

since Watergate in '73-'74...

Things haven't changed much-you still sound like a nine year old. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The most important thing here is the liberals can go to the voters this Fall and say "vote for us-we will look out for the 'little guy', and this time we really mean it!"

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