Back in November, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed to change the Senate rules in order to push through Barack Obama’s nominees without a filibuster to deal with. The move was referred to as the “nuclear option.” Friday, Reid and the Democrats took advantage of those rules and used them to advance confirmation of Obama’s controversial number two Homeland Security official Alejandro Mayorkas.
The Washington Times reports:
Senate Democrats used the new filibuster rules Friday to win confirmation of a controversial top Homeland Security official, approving a new deputy secretary who is still under investigation of wrongdoing in his current post as head of one of the immigration agencies.
The vote was the latest sign of how bitter the partisanship has become in the Senate, with each party saying there’s a total lack of trust with the other side, and questioning whether that can be rebuilt next year.
Not only was the confirmation a new precedent due to the new rules change, but Republicans claimed it was the first time that a nominee, who is currently under investigation by the Inspector General, has been confirmed.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) claims to have had analysts search the record and said there has never been a confirmation of a nominee under active investigation.
“It’s never been done before,” he said.
I reported back in July that Mayorkas is currently under investigation for his part in helping a financing company run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, secure an international investor visa for a Chinese executive.
Reid, claims that the investigation into Mayorkas lacks credibility (isn’t that convenient), and claims his nomination was far too important to wait till after the Christmas break.
“There is still an ongoing investigation,” Coburn said. “Never before has the Senate confirmed someone in this high of a position who is under investigation. … We should wait for this investigation to be completed.”
Politics, no doubt, that had Mr. Reid been on the opposite side of things would have made an even bigger stink about than is being made now. However, Reid was not alone in his dismissal of the investigation.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said the allegations were “lies and smears” motivated by politics.
“I was obvious this was done for political motives not to make Homeland Security a better department,” Leahy said.
Clearly, Republicans were not strategizing properly, as if we are actually expecting establishment Republicans to do such a thing. The vote to confirm Mayorkas was along party lines, 54-41.
Mayorkas was not the only nominee confirmed on Friday. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service director nominee John Koskinen was confirmed by a vote of 59-36, with five Republicans crossing over to vote in favor of his confirmation.
Richard Burr (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Rob Portman (OH) all voted to confirm Koskinen.
While elections are still a long way off, one wonders if Republicans were to take back the Senate and change the rules in their favor how much Harry Reid and Democrats would be screaming about it being “unfair,” and to top that off, one wonders if Republicans would cave to that pressure and go back to the way things were.
In either case, the confirmation of Mayorkas should be of grave concern to Americans, since he is still under investigation, yet, will be in the number two spot over the Department of Homeland Security. Yes, my friends, elections have consequences.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.