Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-AL) office has confirmed to TPMDC the reports that Shelby has placed a hold on President Obama's nominees over a pair of government programs set to be based in Alabama. He did not confirm that Shelby has taken the rare step of blocking all of Obama's nominees, as was reported yesterday
"Sen. Shelby has placed holds on several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns," Shelby spokesperson Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement. "Among his concerns" are the progress on multi-billion dollar defense contract that would see planes built in Mobile, AL and Obama's decision to scrap a $45 million FBI improvised explosive device lab Shelby secured an earmark for in 2008.
Graffeo lashed out at Obama's decision to cancel the lab, which he says "impedes" the ability of the military and intelligence agencies in their efforts to fight terrorism.
He said the decision was part of a pattern on the part of the White House to put political concerns over fighting terror. Graffeo also suggested the holds were no big deal.
"The Obama Administration wants to read terrorists our Miranda rights and try them in U.S. courts but is impeding the processing of evidence that could lead to convictions," he said. "If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place."
Graffeo said Shelby "has made the Administration aware" of his concerns "and is willing to discuss them at any time."
Read Graffeo's full statement here.