After cutting off government funding while attempting to defund Obamacare, the GOP has turned to blocking presidential appointments as a means of undercutting the Obama administration, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said Thursday.
Asked by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about the Senate’s votes to block the nominations of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, McCaskill said she was “disappointed.” Both nominations fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance after being filibustered by Republicans.
“There’s two ways to shut down the government. One is by denying funding to the government,” the Missouri Democrat said. “The other is by blocking the appointments to serve in the government for false political reasons.”
“This isn’t about the workload of the D.C. Circuit Court,” she continued, arguing the GOP was “ginning up specious reasons” to block President Barack Obama’s nominee to an appeals court that handles major litigation coming out of the federal government.
Senate Democrats renewed their push for filibuster reform Thursday after Watt’s and Millett’s nominations were stalled, but their Republican counterparts said they still didn’t feel threatened by Democrats’ calls for a rules change.
“If they’re going to do that, then they have the opportunity to do that,” Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) told TPM’s Sahil Kapur. “The only problem is that the Senate will not always be controlled by Democrats. … I think that’s why it hasn’t been done in the past, because both sides realize that this is something that would be used against them.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.