Saturday, February 16, 2013
THE HAGEL NOMINATION
Senate Republicans are filibustering again. Senate leadership tried but only got three or four members to cross the aisle and failed to get 60 votes to bring the nominee for Defense Secretary to a vote on the floor. The Candidate Chuck Hagel was voted out of committee on a straight party-line vote. There's quite a bit to learn in this latest Beltway drama. There's a new Senator Cruz who is called "Nasty" on the Op-Ed page of the Times. GOP Senator John McCain, a critic of Hagel, chewed out this raw new kid from Harvard and Texas in the Armed Services Committee hearing on Hagel, for his lack of respect for the decorated Viet Nam veteran, Senator Hagel. The kid had some wild notions of financial corruption regarding Saudi Arabia that he was spewing. He's a Tea Party favorite who makes up stuff. But the story out of Washington is that GOP Senators just need a little more time to study the Hagel record - on Israel, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, and the Pentagon. They will do this in the next ten days of vacation. Or rather their staff will stay in town at their desks and pore over the files while the Senators leave town. Senator McCain assures us that he will vote to bring the nomination to the floor when the "recess" is over - in ten days. Chuck Hagel is widely expected to be confirmed then, "if there are no blockbusters discovered." Wait a minute. A ten-day recess? The Congress just started its new term in January. We had an inauguration, a State of the Union speech. A few committee hearings - Congress only convenes between Tuesday and Thursday. And on February 15 they have recessed until the 26th! Good luck, Mr. Hagel! This week our Representative Rick Nolan reported that Congress is scheduled to report to work only 32 out of the 52 weeks in 2013. Our hopes to get a budget, get action on firearms, immigration, global climate, unemployment, housing foreclosures, or the post office, seem awfully slim if just confirming the President's choice to run the Pentagon is so difficult. Why are these congress persons getting salaries and big pensions, anyway?