White House fires back at Shelby on holds

The White House on Friday shot back at Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who recently took the unusual step of placing a blanket hold on all of the administration's nominees.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer accused Shelby of seeking political gain in preventing the government from doing its job.

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"Let's be clear: Sen. Shelby is preventing qualified nominees who will help protect the American people from being confirmed," Pfeiffer wrote on the White House's blog. "This is just the latest example of this kind of opposition for opposition’s sake that the president talked about earlier this week." 


Shelby late Thursday enacted the blanket hold on over 70 of President Barack Obama's nominees because of a dispute over a contract to build Air Force refueling tankers that would have brought the project to Alabama.

Any senator can place a hold on a nominee, preventing the individual from receiving a vote unless the hold is broken by a cloture vote requiring 60 senators or if the senator lifts the hold.

Though holds on nominees are commonly used to protest unrelated issues, blanket holds occur less frequently and affect a wider swath of nominees.

At his question and answer session with Senate Democrats last week, Obama condemned the practice of blocking his nominations for reasons unrelated to the nominees.

"This strategy of obstruction is preventing qualified people from doing their jobs on behalf of the American people and it’s preventing real work from getting done in Washington," Pfeiffer said.

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