The advocacy group Common Cause blasted Senate Republicans on Thursday for delaying the confirmation vote on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel.
“Senators have every right to oppose Sen. Hagel’s nomination and to fully air their reasons for doing so. But there is no justification — none at all — for denying him a vote,” Common Cause President Bob Edgar said in a statement. “His nomination was thoroughly reviewed by the Senate Armed Services Committee and debated for two days on the Senate floor; to borrow a phrase from the President’s State of the Union address, he deserves a vote.”
Edgar added that Senate Republicans “have helped make the case for repeal of the Senate’s filibuster rule and its 60-vote requirement for ending debate. The Constitution requires only a simple majority, 51 votes, for confirmation of Cabinet members; the Senate rule replaces that with a 60 vote requirement, effectively giving control to the minority. That’s a travesty.”
Common Cause, along with several Democratic members of Congress, are seeking to have the Senate’s filibuster rule declared unconstitutional in court.
They argued the parliamentary procedure has devolved from an “instrument of procedure to an instrument of policy,” requiring the Senate to have a supermajority of 60 votes to pass almost any piece of legislation. The framers of the Constitution never intended for the filibuster to be used in such a way, the group claimed.