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Opinion: Democrats’ obstruction keeping Trump’s key positions unfilled

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President Donald Trump was sworn into office six months ago. Senate Democrats have had plenty of time to come to terms with the election results. Unfortunately, they are channeling their disappointment through the confirmation process by engaging in an unprecedented level of obstruction of Trump’s well-qualified nominees.

It’s nearly August, and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have only allowed us to confirm 55 of Trump’s 242 nominees – or 23 percent. By the August recess of President Barack Obama’s first term, the Senate had confirmed 313 of his 454 nominees – or 69 percent.

At the current rate, it will take more than 11 years to fill every Senate-confirmed position in the government. That would take us into the third term of a Trump presidency.

They have created this backlog by using a procedural tactic to delay nominees who are eventually confirmed with broad, bipartisan support.

The comparison between the number of nominees confirmed under the Trump and Obama administrations is striking, but this isn’t simply about the math. This is about the key positions in our government that are going unfilled.

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I hear all the time that our country faces more threats, from more directions, than ever before. But they have only allowed us to confirm seven of the president’s 22 nominations to the Department of Defense.

These aren’t low-level positions. These are positions the president and his national security team need filled to help defend and protect the nation.

As the president continues working to improve the safety of our communities and enforce our nation’s laws, they are also obstructing important nominations to the Department of Justice.

Of the 27 qualified individuals the president nominated to fill vacancies at DOJ, only three nominees have been confirmed. Two of the nominees who have been reported out of committee received votes of 20-0 and 19-1, respectively.

They have clearly decided that it is in their best political interest to stand in the way of the president’s nominees and the Senate’s ability to do the work Americans sent us here to do.

I’ve talked to countless Missourians who want to know what we’re doing in Washington, D.C., to help businesses create jobs, improve our infrastructure, address the failures of Obamacare and make college more affordable. Nowhere in those conversations do I hear a call for more obstruction and more inaction. 

Trump has every right to put his government in place. It is time for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to stop standing in the way so that we can move forward on the priorities American families care about.

 

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., can be reached through Blunt.Senate.gov.

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