Senator Tom Udall: “Historic Gridlock Must End on Nominees and Senate Rules”

In a speech from the Senate floor yesterday, Senator Tom Udall calls for an end of the unprecedented obstruction of Senate rules and stresses the need to confirm agency nominees to protect middle class families in the areas of environmental safety, labor issues and consumer rights.

In a related statement issued yesterday, Senator Udall said:

“I have said for a long time: the Senate is a graveyard for good ideas. Gridlock, hyper-partisanship, delay, obstruction – it all adds up to one thing: broken. I have been calling for changes in the Senate rules since I was elected to the Senate – for a simple reason: the Senate is not serving the American people. It’s not serving the people of my home state of New Mexico.

“What we’re seeing is historic abuse of the filibuster and other procedural tactics. All designed to do one thing – to block the Senate in getting its work done. The obstruction we’re seeing today only hurts Americans who rely on the services those agencies were created to perform. We want to change that. We need to change that – so we can get down to work and address the needs of American families.

“The first step is to allow the President to put a qualified team in place to grow our economy. The obstruction of executive nominees who are ready to be confirmed by the Senate – in which multiple public servants are being blocked not because they are unfit for the job but because senators have issues with the administration’s policy and programs – is unprecedented. Those nominees have been pending an average of 260 days – more than eight months – since they were first put forward. The Senate confirmed only 34 executive nominees by the July 4 recess. That’s compared to 118 at this point in the Bush Administration. There are a total of over 150 pending executive nominees, including Tom Perez for Secretary of Labor, Gina McCarthy to be EPA administrator, and Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

“The Senate has changed, and the rules need reform to restore it as a functioning body. That’s why I’ve been leading on this issue, and I look forward to a vigorous debate in the coming days.”