November 15, 2005 and The Senate in Disarray
My new World Magazine column deals with the blunder that was last week’s Warner Amendment.
On top of this pratfall comes a general lassitude about getting basic stuff done in the Senate. About a year ago, Arlen Specter wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
I am committed, in word and deed, to prompt action by the Judiciary Committee. Last April, I introduced Senate Resolution 327, a protocol to establish prompt action on all judicial nominees. Specifically, my protocol provides that all nominees will have a Judiciary Committee hearing within 30 days of nomination, a Judiciary Committee vote within 30 days of the hearing, and a floor vote 30 days later.
Tell that to Brett Kavanaugh (nominated originally on July 25, 2003), Terrence Boyle, other long-delayed judicial nominees, or even Judge Alito, left twisting in November’s and December’s winds. Senator Specter’s commitments of a year ago evidently had an expiration date.
Majority Leader Frist should insist on hearings and votes for these nominees when the senate reconvenes for its brief December session. The Senate should work at least half as hard as the people who sent them there.
For his part, Mr. Frist said the Senate is now largely shut down for the remainder of this year. Senators will return in December at least long enough to vote on whatever agreements are reached by negotiators in the interim.
These certainly will include the defense budget and, Sen. Frist hopes, an agreement on extending the Patriot Act. Both the Republican deficit-reduction and tax-cut packages must first survive intense bargaining, since the two chambers have pursued very different proposals in each case.
It is this lassitude that outrages the base day in and day out. Why haven’t hearings been held on Kavanaugh, a vote on Boyle, or a debate on the Patriot Act? Why does the Senate need a three week vacation right now? Isn’t there a war going on?
The Majority Leader or Majority Whip Mitch McConnell can be reached via the capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.
Or via their direct dials and e-mails:
Senate Majority Leader Frist, (202) 224-3344, e-mail
Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, (202) 224-2541, e-mail
Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter,(202) 224-4254, e-mail
You might also contact Arizona’s Jon Kyl, one of the champions of fairness for nominees and a resolute supporter of the war and the Patriot Act extension:
Senator Jon Kyl, (202) 224-4521, e-mail
In fact, send a contribution to Jon Kyl’s re-election campaign. He desreves the support of every American. Here’s his campaign website.