Senate Dems slam Banking chairman on nominee backlog

Senate Democrats say they're tired of Sen. Richard Shelby's refusal to move forward on banking nominees.

Led by ranking member Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownLame duck TPP vote could be disastrous for Dems—and America The Trail 2016: Her big night Kaine as Clinton's VP pick sells out progressive wing of party MORE (D-Ohio), Democrats on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee demanded in a Monday letter that the chairman take action on the 16 nominations before the panel.

"For more than a year, the committee has failed to carry out one of its basic duties. It is the only committee in the Senate that did not act on a single nominee last year," Democrats wrote.

Democrats cited four nominees who have beeing waiting for action for more than a year. Only three of the 16 nominees were given hearings, they wrote.

Shelby, an Alabama Republican, has served in the Senate since 1987 and faces three primary challengers on March 1. He told Bloomberg News in January he'd freeze the Banking Committee's work until he clears that hurdle, and blocked six nominees from receiving committee approval in December.

"Once confirmed, [the nominees] will play important roles — some in strengthening our economy, others in promoting financial stability, or protecting national security including efforts to fight ISIS, or safeguarding Americans from abuse and fraud, or ensuring our public transportation is safe," wrote the Democrats. "Failure to act impairs agencies’ and offices’ ability to fulfill all of their functions."

The letter joins the pantheon of Democratic complaints about federal nominee backlogs since the Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015.