OPINION | Chuck Schumer’s obstructionism is a de-facto government shutdown
© Getty

When not talking about Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHouse Judiciary Committee votes to request documents on Comey, Clinton GOP senator warns Trump: Panel won't take up attorney general nominee this year Overnight Cybersecurity: Facebook invests in group fighting election hacking | House panel advances DHS cyber revamp bill | Lawmakers mull cyber insurance for small businesses MORE’s failed campaign, the Democrats’ favorite hobby is to bring up the Republicans shutting down of the government over funding ObamaCare in 2013. Of course, the facts of the matter paint a different picture — conservatives were willing to negotiate on ObamaCare, but President Obama and his minions in Congress said “it’s our way or the highway.”

Clearly, liberals have never read The Art of the Deal.

ADVERTISEMENT
During the shutdown, agencies and employees funded through annual appropriations received delayed payments, while members of the military, the Department of Defense, and Members of Congress remained on the payroll. Today, however, Democrats are taking their obstructionism to a whole new level — they are jeopardizing our economic and national security by refusing to allow President Trump to appoint key staffers to critical positions.  Now, the Democrats are implementing a de facto government shutdown themselves.

Remember a few years ago when Democrats complained about Republicans’ obstructing President Obama’s nominees? Today, the Democrats who cried about Republican obstructionism are the same ones who are engaging in unprecedented obstruction and sabotage of President Trump’s nominees.

One of the most important tasks for the United States Senate is to consider and confirm nominees to the executive branch of the federal government. The Constitution gives the president the power to nominate individuals to serve in the judicial and executive branches, while the Senate has the power to advise and consent. Right now, though, there is not much consent going on.

One result of this unprecedented act of obstructionism is that the federal government is not functioning properly. According to the White House, only two of President Trump’s 23 judicial nominations have actually been confirmed by the Senate. With the August recess looming, the Senate has only confirmed 23 percent of President Trump’s 216 nominations, compared to 69 percent by President Obama’s first August recess.  These numbers are evidence that the Democrats lied when they complained about Republican’s slow-walking Obama nominees.

Remarkable, isn’t it? This is far less than the number of nominations approved eight years ago, which caused hysterical outrage by the likes of current Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerBipartisan group of governors call on GOP to reject skinny repeal Democrats threaten to play hardball on ObamaCare repeal Lawmakers push to toughen foreign lobbying rules MORE (D-N.Y.) when Democrats claimed unprecedented obstruction.

The hypocrisy is thick. Back in 2013, Schumer said, “We much prefer the risk of up-or-down votes and majority rule than the risk of continued and total obstruction. That’s the bottom line — no matter who’s in power.”  Well, now that Democrats are in power, the leader of the party in the Senate is singing from a different song sheet. Clearly, honesty is not a strong suit with some politicians.

This week, Director of Legislative Affairs Mark Short laid out the obstructionism in stark terms. “Not only are key national security, energy, financial, and regulatory positions left unfilled,” he said, “(but) procedural slowdowns have kept the Senate committees from doing other legislative work.”  

Short pointed out that “Democrats even walked out of committee hearings to deny a quorum, like school children taking their toys from the playground.”

He’s right. Ultimately, it is not Republicans who are hurt by these childish acts, but the American people who are harmed by “obstruction tactics” so Democrats can play politics “to a radical left-wing base,” to use Short’s words. He is spot on.

As Short pointed out, war is raging in the Middle East against ISIS, yet the Democrats continue to block national security nominees like Elaine McCusker for undersecretary of Defense. Heath Tarbert, Trump’s nominee to be assistant secretary of the Treasury for international markets, is also being obstructed, meaning in part that no one is safeguarding our country from bad foreign investments. Democrats are hurting national security when they obstruct.

When it comes to jobs and the economy, Democrats are no better. They are blocking Kevin Allen Hassett to head the Council of Economic Advisors. They are also sabotaging legislative efforts from the repeal and replace of ObamaCare to comprehensive tax reform, yet the obstruction of nominations is truly an attempt to sabotage the Trump agenda by not allowing the president to get his staff working.

The next time you hear some Fake News reporting that President Trump is not doing enough in this administration to increase national security or help middle America to create jobs, remember that the quiet sabotage of the Trump agenda is happening in the Senate today with the Democrats slow-walking and blocking qualified nominees to make our federal government fail.

Corey R. Lewandowski served as campaign manager for President Donald J. Trump.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.