McCaskill Presses to End Secret Holds

Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:31pm

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) took her crusade to end secret holds a step further Thursday, pledging that she would shun a practice that she described as “a luxury we should not indulge in.”

“If you want to object, that’s your prerogative as a Senator,” she said. But “come out here on this floor and tell the world why this is the wrong person for the job. Don’t hide.”

McCaskill bemoaned the 84 nominations sitting on the Senate’s executive calendar and announced that along with Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), she would no longer put secret holds on any names. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation last week that would ban the use of secret holds, a long-standing privilege in the Senate.

Democrats have repeatedly complained at the slow pace of clearing President Barack Obama’s nominees. McCaskill noted that more than three dozen of Obama’s picks were confirmed with more than 70 votes on the floor and begrudged the tactic of holding up a nomination to serve as a bargaining chip for other Senate business.

Last week, McCaskill employed a rule adopted in 2007 that requires a Member to report an anonymous hold in the Congressional Record six days after a colleague has tried to clear the name. McCaskill announced that on Friday she would unveil the names of Members holding up nominations.