USA Today: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed to try again after Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a critical time for the industry. 'Republicans' unprecedented obstruction continued today with a step that we have not seen since the Civil War,' Reid said."
First Read: Watt is the first sitting member of Congress blocked since 1843 when Rep. Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts was blocked to become John Tyler’s Treasury Secretary. Cushing was blocked again 30 years later when his name came up to become chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other sitting members have been filibustered since 1949 -- Hilda Solis in 2009, nominated by President Obama for Labor Secretary, and Rob Portman, nominated by George W. Bush for US Trade Representative in 2005, according to the Congressional Research Service. But opposition, in both cases, was withdrawn.
Ironically, Portman was one of two Republicans to vote for Watt.
Roll Call: "The nomination wars are officially back...'I think it’s worth considering it,'" Biden "said of changing Senate rules on nominees after Republicans filibustered two nominees."
AP: “Think you’re confused by ‘Obamacare.’ It’s roiling Capitol Hill behind the scenes, too. Members of Congress are governing themselves under President Barack Obama’s signature law, which means they have great leeway in how to apply it to their own staffs. For House members and senators, it’s about a section of the law that may — or may not — require lawmakers to toss some staffers off of their federal health insurance and into the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. The verdict from congressional officers is ultimately that lawmakers, as employers, have discretion over who among their staffs gets ejected, and who stays. And they don’t have to say who, how many or why.”
First published November 1 2013, 6:07 AM