NR’s editors, yesterday:
Knowing that they cannot sink his nomination, and having no extraordinary reasons to oppose him, Senate Democrats have decided to boycott Tom Price’s Finance Committee confirmation vote — the senatorial equivalent of throwing a temper-tantrum. This eleventh-hour spectacle from elected officials so lately waxing panegyrical over “democratic norms” is unseemly. Price, surely the most qualified nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services in a generation, deserves an up-or-down vote.
No dice. Today, Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (Utah) and his fellow Republicans suspended quorum rules requiring at least one Democrat to be present in order to vote, and forwarded Price and Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin to the full Senate.
Now Democrats are incensed.
.@RonWyden, top Finance D, tells me he got no heads up on Rs unilaterally changing rules and clearing Price/Mnuchin. Headed over there now
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) February 1, 2017
Yes, Senator. That’s what happens when you don’t show up to work.
Think Progress says Senate Republicans “cheated Democrats out of a vote”:
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 1, 2017
NARAL — opposed to Price because he’s staunchly pro-life — is suggesting that Republicans just upended “democracy”:
— NARAL (@NARAL) February 1, 2017
Look, this isn’t hard: Tom Price is an eminently qualified HHS nominee. He would be the first medical doctor to head the department since the George H.W. Bush nomination. Under normal circumstances, he’d have been waved through (like Obama’s HHS nominees were waved through). Instead, Democrats declared him a DEFCON 1 national danger, and ratcheted up their tactics. So Republicans responded in kind.
What they did isn’t against the rules, but it is extra-ordinary. But, then, so is boycotting a perfectly fit nominee. Escalation begets escalation.
Just moments ago, Democrats announced their boycott of EPA nominee Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing. Where, precisely, do they think this will end?