Aug 09 2017
In August, the Senate confirmed Arkansan Mike Platt to serve as Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Mike is a devoted public servant who has spent a career making the lives of Arkansans and all Americans better. While I’ve known him for many years, his recent meeting with me was routine for presidential nominees to federal posts that require Senate confirmation.
Mike is one of hundreds of presidential nominees who are vetted by the Senate, questioned in committee hearings and approved on the Senate floor as prescribed by the “advice and consent” clause in the Constitution. This obligation allows the Senate to ensure the president surrounds himself with good advisors. It is important that the Senate act on these nominees in a timely fashion so our federal agencies have the personnel needed to fulfill their responsibilities to our country.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have continuously delayed the confirmation process for noncontroversial nominees despite widespread, bipartisan support in committee. Slowing down the approval of presidential nominees is a disservice to the American people. It hinders the ability of the Executive Branch to follow through on and implement the president’s agenda.
Democrats in the Senate are using unnecessary procedural hurdles because they don’t like the results of the presidential election. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have allowed only 10 percent of President Trump’s nominees to be confirmed by voice vote, while more than 90 percent of President Obama’s nominees had been confirmed by voice vote at this point in 2009.
The Senate took a big step in early August, by confirming a number of qualified individuals to serve in a variety of important positions including a nominee to serve on the National Labor Relations Board, judges to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and Christopher Wray to serve as director of the FBI. Unfortunately, a number of key advisor positions remain vacant. It’s time to end the needless delays and procedural hurdles that have prevented well-qualified individuals from filling positions within the administration.
This includes nominees like Cody Hiland who President Trump nominated to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. I urge the president to expeditiously nominate qualified individuals to the other federal positions in Arkansas that are vacant like the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas and U.S. Marshals for the Eastern and Western Districts.
I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to ensure we have men and women in place who are willing to serve our country in critical positions that support the White House and its agenda.