Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 17, 2009

THE SILLY CONFIRMATION PROCESS, PART CXXVII.... This sure does get tiresome.

Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) has placed a "hold" on Robert Perciasepe's nomination to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, demanding that the EPA re-analyze a controversial climate bill.

Voinovich announced the hold -- a common practice for minority-party senators seeking leverage over a Cabinet department -- in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

He said he had no objections to Perciasepe, the chief operating officer of the Audubon Society. But he wants the EPA to alter its analysis of a bill, aiming to lower greenhouse-gas emissions, that passed the House in June.

Voinovich knows Perciasepe is qualified for the post to which he's been nominated, and Perciasepe has enough support to be confirmed. It's obvious that Voinovich's hold on Perciasepe has nothing to do with Perciasepe.

The problem has to do with the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security" (ACES) Act. The EPA estimates that the bill, if implemented, will cost the average U.S. household about $110 per year. (A CBO analysis came up with a slightly higher figure: $175 per household per year.) Voinovich, hoping to defeat the bill, found the estimate unsatisfying.

So, he's told the EPA that he'll let the Senate vote on Perciasepe's nomination just as soon as the EPA reevaluates ACES's cost and tells him what he wants to hear comes up with a per-household annual cost that he considers "reliable and realistic."

The Senate confirmation process is very, very annoying. As is Sen. Voinovich.

Steve Benen 1:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Enough! Eliminate the Senate. It, along with the Electoral College, is the last remnant of the Slave Constitution that gave slave states effective veto power over the rest of the country.

That veto power is now in the hands of the repug party and its DINO/Blue Dog fellow travelers. The Senate is no longer the cooling saucer Washington described, but rather a dam of antediluvian garbage blocking a river of essential progressive legislation.

Long past time to blow it to smithereens.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on July 17, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Let's be clear about what's going on here.

Senator Voinovich is a bought-and-paid-for agent of the coal industry. His job in the Senate is to protect their profits. That's what they pay him to do.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 17, 2009 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: Senator Voinovich is a bought-and-paid-for agent of the coal industry.

Not to mention almost everyone else in Ohio who uses electricity.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 17, 2009 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Each and every position where there has been a "hold" placed by Republicans and their fellow travelers should be filled with a recess appointment. The announcement should be released along with a table listing the length of time since the name was sent up and the name(s) of Senators who placed holds. If the holds are truly anonymous the Republican leadership should be asked to release the names. The hold is a Senatorial courtesy that is being abused.

Posted by: NE skeptic on July 17, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

These Republicans want to play politics? Fine. They pull a knife, we pull a gun. They send one of ours to the hospital, we send one of theirs to the morgue. It's the Chicago way, and it's a simple enough strategy that even the most dense conservative can understand it. If they don't understand nuance, let them feel the sting of political neck punches.

Look, these mooks are playing games. They've got no policy, no new ideas, no real plan for governing the country, and they haven't for quite some time. They are, for example, all of the sort that'll complain about the stimulus package not working, and yet be unwilling to give up their states' stimulus funding.

Anything that can be done to enforce their image as squawking, naughty, nay-saying parrots is good.

Posted by: castanea on July 17, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to know it's not just the Roman Senate that had horses for Senators.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 17, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

As far as I know Caligula made his entire horse a consul, not just the distal portion thereof. So it looks like standards have actually fallen since then.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on July 17, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Political blackmail should be embarrassing as it demeans the entire chamber. It should not be tolerated except the minority party are all unified jackasses just standing around trying to disrupt progress by any means available. They think they are too big to be petty but that is exactly what the senate is becoming by allowing such tactics.

If it doesn't have to do with the nominee then holds should not be allowed for any other reason.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 17, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

President Obama announced this nomination on May 19th. The fact that this superbly qualified and publicly spirited individual for a very important position can be held hostage by the likes of a Voinovich, whose party was soundly defeated in the last election in the nation and in Ohio, is testimony to the depths to which the ideologues and fools controlling that minority party have sunk. That most of the media excuses this as business as usual- which it certainly isn't and shouldn't be - is testimony to just how much harm 8 years of Bush and his ilk have caused to the nation.

Robert Perciasepe, Nominee for Deputy Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Bob Perciasepe has over 30 years of experience in environmental and Natural resources management, legislative and governmental affairs and creative problem solving. Perciasepe joined Audubon as Senior Vice President for Public Policy and head of the Washington, DC office in 2001. In 2004,he was named COO of Audubon, and in that capacity, he has been responsible for coordinating programs and support services throughout Audubon's national and state offices. Prior to joining Audubon, Bob served as Assistant Administrator for the EPA, first serving as Assistant Administrator for Water, then Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. From 1990 to 1993, Bob was Secretary of Environment and directed pollution control and environmental protection for the state of Maryland. Previously, he was Baltimore's Assistant Director of Planning, where he oversaw environmental and infrastructure planning and managed the capital budget for the city. Perciasepe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University and master's degree in planning and public administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Posted by: robert on July 17, 2009 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

1906 Kansas Republican Senator Joseph R Burton resigned.
Convicted and upheld by the Supreme Court for receiving compensation for intervening with a federal agency.

This is precisely the sort of behavior that has become the norm that ought to, and has been, censured.

They really don't have any decency left, these power brokers who claim to represent the people.

Posted by: thebewilderness on July 17, 2009 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Steve and All,

Voinovich (and the rest) are turds, I am in total agreement. However, it is a bit of a conceit (and deceit) to call the difference between the household costs "slight". In actual dollars yes, but if I remember my math it is about a 60% difference. Also, if we are fetishizing CBO estimates as the gold-standard with healthcare, shouldn't we be choosing the same estimates for other programs. Choosing facts and sources is a conservative game we shouldn't play.

Posted by: henryedward on July 17, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK
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