Bernie Sanders, Vermont's freshman United States Senator, and one-of-a-kind left-wing, people-powered, "Independent" Vermont political institution, has used the power granted a U.S. Senator to place a hold on President Bush's nomination of former Rep. Jim Nussle to be the next White House budget director. Reports the Des Moines Register:
The Senate Budget Committee has voted 22-1 to approve the Iowa Republican's nomination, but at least two senators had placed holds on the nomination, blocking the full Senate from taking a final vote.
Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent who cast the lone vote against Nussle in the budget committee, said President Bush was "way out of touch with reality" in thinking the economy is good and needs a budget director who will tell him otherwise.
Sanders said he "would love to hear from Mr. Nussle and the White House that instead of simply paying attention to the needs of the wealthiest people in this country that they are serious about addressing the concerns of the middle class and working families."
He said he had not contacted the White House about his concerns.
At least one other senator had anonymously placed a hold on Nussle's nomination, said the budget committee's chairman, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
The holds jeopardized the White House's plan to get Nussle on the job before the August congressional recess. The outgoing director, Rob Portman, leaves the job today.
An individual senator can block a bill or nomination by refusing to agree to the unanimous consent necessary for going forward.
This is the kind of tactic I recall the right-wing senators of my youth employing to block judicial nominees who thought a woman had a right to control her own body, or non-whites had a right to go to school or to the restaurant with white folks.
If you haven't already caught it, do yourself a favor and catch the U.S. Senate hearing video of Ol' Bernardo questioning his old friend from the House - Jim Nussle.
It's a keeper!