April 03, 2019

Udall Statement on Senate Republicans’ Rules Changes

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Rules Committee, issued the following statement on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leading Senate Republicans in invoking the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules on executive and judicial nominations: 

“After denying Merrick Garland a hearing for nearly a year, and after obstructing President Obama’s nominees in record and destructive fashion during his two terms in office, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans are now unilaterally changing the Senate rules to ram through even more unqualified and extreme nominees with minimal time for debate.

“It is shocking that after all of this history, Senate Republicans are complaining about obstruction, especially when no president has had more ability to get their nominees through than President Trump due to the elimination of the 60 vote threshold for all nominations. Despite this unprecedented ability, President Trump has failed to even nominate anyone for dozens and dozens of open positions in the Executive Branch. And let’s be clear: one of the biggest problems with this administration’s nominees is that they have proven – through the Senate’s normal vetting process – to be unqualified, even to the majority. We expect a Republican president to appoint conservative nominees. But we don’t expect unqualified nominees. None of us should tolerate it.

“I have proposed rules reforms whether I am in the majority or the minority, but I always proposed a good-faith package of reforms to benefit both the minority and the majority and to make the Senate function better. Members of both sides of the Senate are frustrated by the inaction and the gridlock, the inability to offer amendments and vote on them. But instead of restoring the traditions of open debate, the Republican leader is now making a move to shut it down, and insulting the intelligence of the American people by telling them that Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction under President Obama – and the long-term damage they have done to this institution – never took place.”