Republicans Filibuster Two Obama Nominees Right After Cory Booker Is Sworn In

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 31 2013 1:42 PM

Republicans Filibuster Two Obama Nominees Right After Cory Booker Is Sworn In

186443049
Dramatic irony alert!

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At noon, most Democratic senators, three Republican senators, and half a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus watched Cory Booker get sworn in as the new senator from New Jersey. Dozens of reporters trailed the fourth elected black senator as he and his family walked the halls, slapped backs, and spent an inordinate amount of time listening to Joe Biden's banter in the Old Senate Chamber. (It's not like they had a choice.)

While that was happening, the Senate Republicans filibustered some Obama nominees. Rep. Mel Watt, a North Carolina congressman* nominated to run the Federal Housing Agency, got only one Republican vote for cloture—after the Club for Growth had key-voted "no" on his bid. Two Republicans voted to advance the nomination of Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit, despite no one coming up with a policy/philosophy-based reason to oppose her. They want to reduce the number of seats on the circuit; this was a proxy vote on that demand.

The Booker celebration went on. A reporter asked Biden whether the Senate needed rules reform. "I think it's worth considering," he said. Democrats heading into a caucus meeting started putting out new arguments for rules reform, which they had tried to settle for this session months ago.

Advertisement

"This is a war on the other two branches of government and their ability to do the jobs the American people need them to do," said Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, the party's lead crusader for rules reform. The Senate rules must change."

*Watt's also an African-American, so if you want to spot an irony in the Senate celebrating the arrival of a black member then watching a black congressman get filibustered, go ahead.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 3:53 PM Smash and Grab Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 20 2014 3:40 PM Keeping It in the Family Why are so many of the world’s oldest companies in Japan?
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 5:03 PM Marcel the Shell Is Back and as Endearing as Ever
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.