Sen. Shelby Accused Of Blocking 70 Nominations Over Air Force Tanker Deal

Senator Richard Shelby really likes air tankers. Shelby reportedly is blocking 70 nominations in a dispute over the long-controversial Air Force tanker deal. This contract has been criticized for years as wasteful and unnecessary. Shelby is supporting the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company against Boeing in the dispute because the Europeans are promising to build the tankers in his state.

Putting aside the merits of the tanker deal, Shelby’s “hold” on all nominees renews the controversy over the ability of senators to hold up nominees unilaterally. I have long been a critic of this tradition called “blue slipping” and holds. For a recent article, click here. This tradition is notorious for allowing senators to engage in hold ups of the Senate and the White House — demanding favors for friends or simply opposing nominees for personal reasons. There is little public benefit from blue slipping. If a senator has a problem with a nominee, he or she should state the objection in public and oppose confirmation. Blue slipping was traditional confined to judicial nominees from a senator’s state. He or she would literally send a blue slip with a written objection. The Shelby controversy involves a broader use of a “hold” by a senator.

For a prior column criticizing blue slipping, click here.

For the full story, click here.

38 thoughts on “Sen. Shelby Accused Of Blocking 70 Nominations Over Air Force Tanker Deal”

  1. Actually, I think buying a less suited and more expensive product just because it is made by a domestic owned company isn’t “true capitalism” either…

  2. rcampbell:

    in my understanding of capitalism, a true capialist would not go to government to get an advantage over another company. I would call that fascism and the people who would do that are fascists. So I think I would be well within my rights to call Senator Shelby a fascist.

    And you are right it was done for money, it certainly wasnt done on sound capitalistic economic principles.

  3. “On November 9, 1994, Shelby switched his party affiliation to Republican, one day after the Republicans won control of both houses in the midterm elections, giving the Republicans a 53-47 majority in the Senate.”

  4. lottakatz

    Johnolan, “I’m with you on this one. Personally I’d like to see the Senate dissolved and the House allowed to evolve into the Parliament it so closely reflects. I haven’t been a fan of the Senate for years.”

    I second that.

    We all learned in 8th grade and then again is senior Civics class that, through the process of amendments, the Constitution is a living and evolving document wherein, originally, the Senate was intended to represent the states’ sovereignties that had not been delegated to the national government. Senators, with 6 year terms, were never expected to be part of the People’s House but passage of the Seventeenth Amendment changed all that … the Constitution evolved and through the 17th gave more power to “The People” in deciding their Senators.

    Based on the performance of the Senate over the last 25 years, the corruption that has so thoroughly taken hold of that institution, and the changes within our society and body politic, perhaps it is now time to “evolve” once more and dissolve the Senate as it is, replacing it with a more modern body that would maintain our bicameral legislature yet reflect the advances and needs of our citizens.

    In other words, the country has outgrown the Senate, as it now stands, and requires a more advanced and modernized institution.

  5. Byron, how can you be so sure there isn’t some capital/capitol consideration in all of this?

  6. AY:

    I actually don’t know what his fundamental political philosophy/outlook is.

    If this story is true, he sure isn’t a capitalist.

  7. Mr Snowjob

    We all know who and what Sen. Shelby is and no amount of lipstick, whitewash nor an endorsement from a “friend” will change what he is for the better. Thanks for stopping by though, Senator.

  8. I thought after reading the article that Buddha attached the DOD said that they did not want the expenditure.

    Excuse me but are not the Republicans the folks that talk about too much government and that they need to cut back in spending?

    I am sorry wrong party.

    Gassed Old Pricks? GOP

  9. “Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) decision to place a “blanket hold” on all presidential nominations until a pair of billion-dollar earmarks for his home state are fast-tracked has reignited the debate over the parliamentary tactics being deployed by the Republican Party. It also has thrust into the spotlight the clout that major defense contractors often wield on the political process.”

  10. Mr. Snow,
    Senator Shelby is a disgrace to himself and his party. That you’re his good friend does not speak well of you. This is a purely venal exercize on his part, something that is certainly not new to him. Who do you lobby for?

  11. I am a good friend of Richard Shelby. He is Alabama’s senior United States Senator. He was first elected to the Senate in 1986 with an undeniable commitment to Alabama and the simple philosophy that a smaller government can also be a more effective government.

    While he does not chair any Committee he is on a number of subcommittees. Please contact his office and let him know that you support his decisions. He will appreciate, your phone call, faxes, letters and emails.


    Richard Snow

    Washington Office:
    304 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Telephone: (202) 224-5744
    Fax: (202) 224-3416

  12. The concept of a Senator putting a hold on anything is ridiculous and archaic. The ability to fillibuster without actually holding the floor is likewise archaic and stupid. That so many Senators from each party can’t see this indicates the sad state to which our country senior legislature has fallen. I well understand the concept of and possible need for perogatives, but these two only insure that a greater chaos exists in this supposedly “august” body.

    Great quotes Mespo and AY and that is why I see myself as a political iconoclast and pragmatist. The concept of “character” as in loyalty to my party, my country or my race is an absurdity that only prevents an individual from fully responding to the nature of the environment they’re in. Had it been presnt 100,000 years ago mankind may have become extinct by now.

  13. It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

    Bertrand Russell

  14. Another,

    Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.

    Bertrand Russell

  15. mespo,

    That one of my favorite quotes. I forgot the importance of the quote. Until I awoke this morning.

    The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. – Bertrand Russell

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