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McConnell Threatens to Trip Up Obama’s Nominees

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday threatened to filibuster any of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominations if they do not meet what he deemed a series of “standards” for installment.

McConnell, in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), outlined eight requirements that executive branch nominees must meet in order for Republicans to allow the nomination to come to the Senate floor. McConnell also warned additional requirements will be expected of judicial branch hopefuls.

The “standards” laid out in the letter are fairly basic and appear to be aimed at avoiding the kind of revelations of tax problems that sank the nomination of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to McConnell’s letter, “Prior to considering any time agreements on the floor on any nominee,” the administration must ensure that an FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a hearing being noticed, that the Office of Government Ethics letter is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a committee hearing, and that financial disclosure statements (and tax returns for applicable committees) are complete and submitted to the committee for review prior to a hearing being noticed.

McConnell also insisted that all committee questionnaires are complete and have been returned to the committee; that a reasonable opportunity for follow-up questions has been afforded committee members, and nominees have answered, with sufficient time for review prior to a committee vote; that the nominee is willing to have committee staff interviews, where that has been the practice; that the nominee has had a hearing; that the nominee agrees to courtesy visits with Members when requested, and that the nominee has committed to cooperate with the ranking member on requests for information and transparency.

McConnell goes on to warn that, “There will be additional requirements, honoring the traditions of the Senate, for judicial nominees.”

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