Mitch McConnell, 2005: "What they did last Congress was change 200 years of history during which we had never killed an executive branch nomination by use of the filibuster. They introduced that. It’s a terrible precedent. The Senate with 51 votes, not 60, reversed that precedent. And I believe that it’s time to do that. I believe we will go forward with that at a time of the majority leader’s calling."
It's not a surprise to find that McConnell is being a hypocrite on the procedure for confirming executive branch nominations, but what McConnell is doing now goes beyond just simple hypocrisy and well beyond what the Democrats were doing in 2005. Their efforts were to keep right-wing ideologues from lifetime appointments on the federal bench. Now, the GOP is attempting to prevent a popularly elected president from appointing his team to do the work of government. That, McConnell said on Meet the Press Sunday, isn't going to change.
It really kind of comes down to three appointments that the federal courts have told us were unconstitutionally recess appointed. Two members of the N.L.R.B. and the C.F.P.B. We need to talk about that. And we're going to talk about it at a rather unusual joint session in the old Senate chamber, on Monday, of all senators. And we need to start talking to each other instead of at each other, and see if we can't resolve this in the same way that we did ten years ago when Republicans had genuine provocation.According to McConnell, blocking nominees in an attempt to actually nullify the laws and dismantle departments isn't "genuine provocation." Republicans have no objections to the actual nominees either to the NLRB or the CFPB. They want to cripple these agencies. To wit:
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “Given its recent actions, the NLRB as inoperable could be considered progress.” [Press Release, 12/9/11]
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): “We made clear to the President that without these reforms we would not vote to confirm any nominee to run the CFPB, regardless of political affiliation or qualifications.” [Floor Speech, 12/8/11]
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “My opposition to Richard Cordray's nomination has nothing to do with him personally, but rather to the lack of accountability of the position and the new agency as it's currently structured.” [Press Release, 12/8/11]
Republicans want to shut down the NRLB and to leave the millions of American workers—and employers—in limbo. They want to destroy organized labor and see this as a way to hasten its demise. And they want make sure that the American consumer doesn't have any means of standing up to Wall Street, that there is no agency of government looking out for Main Street.
That's unprecedented. And it's time that it ends.