The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, May 14, 2005

NOT BOLTIN' TOWARD BOLTON?

Democrats trying to show the backbone that Sen Voinovich didn't.
Senate Democrats opposed to
President Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton to be U.N. ambassador are trying to delay a Senate vote with a legislative maneuver that ultimately could lead to a filibuster.

As a result, Senate consideration of the nomination is unlikely before the end of the month, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's spokesman said.

The White House, in pushing for confirmation, has taken the position Bolton was needed badly and promptly at the United Nations to work on reform of the institution.

But Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record) of California said Democrats were holding up the nomination to compel the State Department to provide more information about the embattled undersecretary.

Frist's spokesman Bob Stevenson said it was "an ominous signal," but that talks would be held with the Democrats to try to work out arrangements for bringing the nomination to the floor.

Next week the Senate will concentrate on a confirmation fight over two of Bush's conservative judicial nominees.

At the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher indicated the Democrats' demands for more Bolton documents would not be met.

"We think that we have provided everything that is relevant to this nomination," he said.

The nomination was voted out of the Foreign Relations Committee 10-8 on Thursday without an endorsement, and Democrats vowed to take their fight to the Senate floor.

Boxer told The Associated Press on Friday she would use procedural delays until Democrats receive the requested information.

"It is not fair to bring this nomination to the floor for debate and a vote until all the information has been delivered," she said.

Boxer said the Democrats want to know if Bolton sought the names of U.S. officials whose communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence, details on the private business activities of a Bolton assistant, Matthew Friedman, and the circumstances of a tough Bolton speech on Syria.
With this, along with the looming debates on the nuclear option and Social Security privatization, the Senate promises to be a very interesting place in the next month or two.

Note how Frist, through his spokesperson, doesn't voice any strong objection to the Dems' obstructing Bolton, possibly even filibustering him, only mentioning that the trajectory of the nomination is "ominous" given the Dems' actions. Frist's anti-judicial-filibuster jihad isn't polling well, so in order to come off as something bordering reasonable, perhaps he is going out of his way to indicate that he's alright with the filibuster elsewhere, such as here (and it may very well loom for Social Security legislation if the private accounts make it out of committee). Mind you, TFM doesn't endorse the removal of the judicial filibuster, of course, but Frist's efforts have yielded an interesting political byproduct. That is, unless/until he goes back on his word. He wouldn't do that, would he?

That's what all those kitties he rescued from the pound said.

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