Chris Dodd was the guy who said a few days ago that the Senate has actually been working wonderfully in this session of Congress, with so much productivity, and that the desires of freshman Democrats to restructure the rules of the body were misguided. I wonder what he’s thinking today, as a nominee for the Fed Board of Governors, who just passed through his Banking Committee with bipartisan support, was sent back to the White House basically because some Republican felt like it:
The Senate sent the nomination of Peter Diamond, one of President Barack Obama’s three nominees for the Federal Reserve Board, back to the White House because of objections from at least one lawmaker.
The office of the executive clerk of the Senate said the procedural move occurred as part of actions taken on nominees without debate before the chamber left for a summer break. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said the White House may resubmit the nomination […]
Under Senate rules, all nominations that aren’t completed before a lengthy recess go back to the White House and have to be resubmitted unless the Senate unanimously agrees to hold onto them and act later, Stewart said. Routinely, the Senate does agree to retain the nominations.
If a single senator objects, the name goes back to the president’s office. In Diamond’s case, at least one senator did that. Stewart said he didn’t know the identity of the lawmakers.
What I think about Peter Diamond is irrelevant to my point on this. Diamond passed through the Banking Committee 16-7, with three Republicans in support. But someone, most likely the ranking member on the committee, Richard Shelby (who said that Diamond “may not be qualified” in issues of monetary policy because that’s not his area of specialization), didn’t like the cut of Diamond’s jib, so he sent him back.
All this means is that Diamond must be renominated, which is likely, and then sent through the committee again, delaying his confirmation for months more. Yet it’s near-certain that he has at least 60 votes for confirmation. So Republicans are delaying the inevitable, and it only took one of them to do it.
Moreover, this means that the Fed Board could be down to five or even four members once Donald Kohn steps down September 1. So it potentially hampers the monetary policy of the country.
Dodd termed himself an “enthusiastic” supporter of Diamond in the committee. Because of some ridiculous unanimous consent rule around recess periods, that sure-to-be-confirmed nominee faces a months-long setback.
There’s really nothing that can be done to improve the rules of the world’s most deliberative body, Senator?