Washington Post: Democrats are to blame for Trump’s ‘acting’ government

Posted on July 18, 2019

The main reason President Trump has “created an acting government” [editorial, July 8] is because Senate Democrats won’t allow him to form a government any other way.    

The president makes 1,200 executive nominations that must be approved (or rejected) in the Senate by majority vote. Democrats’ delaying tactics have allowed consideration of only six to eight Trump nominees a week. Mr. Trump’s only recourse has been to appoint acting administrators.

In the past, Republicans have held up some Democrat nominees. Mr. Trump has been slow to make some nominations. But there has never been anything like today’s slowdown. To speed up a nominee’s consideration, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has had to file a motion to cut off debate (cloture) 128 times in Trump’s first two years. That was necessary only 12 times in Barack Obama’s first two years. For George W. Bush, 4; Bill Clinton, 12; George H.W. Bush, not once.

The Senate is a body of precedent. Using the same tactics, a future Republican Senate minority could force a President Elizabeth Warren to create an acting government. A Republican majority could keep her from confirming any nominees.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, I worked with Democrats to change Senate rules so President Obama could receive timely consideration of their nominees. Democrats’ behavior today proves that the Senate didn’t need just a change of rules; it needs a change of behavior.