Those trying to blame President Donald Trump for the fact that so many posts within the executive branch are being filled by “acting” officials are shifting the blame in the wrong direction. The problem lies in the Senate, where Democrats have waged an unprecedented campaign to prevent his nominees from being confirmed to the detriment of the public, good government and required accountability.
More than 100 executive branch and almost 80 judicial nominees are idling in the Senate. Many have been forced to wait many, many months, their personal and professional lives on hold. And all because of partisan politics intended not to find solutions, but to prevent the effective functioning of the government and block the implementation of the president’s policies.
The Senate has been forced to take a separate vote to invoke cloture, or end debate, over 100 times on Trump nominees. That’s an egregious use of cloture, and it rivals the use for past presidential nominees. The purpose of this tactic is obvious since, after a 2013 rules change, cloture votes can be used only to delay, not to defeat, nominations.
Not only that, but this is the first time that nominees to many executive branch positions have had to jump through so many hoops to get confirmed. The Senate, for example, has been forced to take a cloture vote on the Interior Secretary, the Labor Statistics Commissioner and the Ambassador for Religious Freedom.
The first-ever cloture vote on the Director of the Counterterrorism Center was 95-1. That means only one senator had any interest in debating the nomination at all, yet Democrats forced a cloture vote before the confirmation vote could be held.
There are too many “acting” officials running government divisions, agencies and offices throughout the executive branch. But we know who is at fault for that. And it isn’t the president.
This piece originally appeared in USA Today