Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This Is How Bad It's Gotten In The Republican Senate

You would think that the Republicans in our U.S. Senate could make an easy job of advising and consenting on a relatively non-partisan federal position as Head Librarian of the Library of Congress.

Nope (via the Washington Post).

It seems even a job as uncontroversial as librarian of Congress isn’t immune to congressional infighting.
Librarian of Congress nominee Carla Hayden — the chief executive of the Baltimore public library — breezed through a Senate committee hearing in April, and, within weeks, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that the Senate approve her nomination to be the 14th librarian of Congress.
“The nominee, in my opinion, brings a wealth of experience to the position and it is my hope that this experience will lead the Library of Congress in a way that . . . meets the demands of the 21st century,” Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said of Hayden, who would be the first woman and the first African American to lead the agency.
But not all Republicans agree, and as a result Hayden’s nomination has been held up. There has been no public explanation for the five-week delay, although privately some conservatives have been critical of the positions Hayden took as head of the American Library Association, including her opposition to parts of the Patriot Act and a law requiring libraries to install Internet filters to block pornography. Others decry her lack of academic heft, saying the position is a scholarly one...
Trust me, public librarians can handle reference research requests as well as the college librarians! /rage

Any excuse would do in a storm of their own making...

The most likely reason is that at least one Senator wanted to throw a conniption at ANYTHING that could get passed during an Obama administration, so said Senator placed yet another "secret Hold" to delay the floor vote.

This is, after all, a Republican-controlled Senate that has refused to fill the largest number of vacancies our government's seen in modern times.

Just remember these GOP Senators can easily avoid even TALKING to a Supreme Court nominee like Garland without punishment, while legal decisions are stuffed into limbo or sent back down to appellate courts woefully understaffed.

While lacking a Librarian of Congress wouldn't have brought the entire world collapsing, it's a sign of how lazy and ineffective these Republicans have been in some of the worst underperforming legislative sessions we've seen since 1948.

My professional emails the last four-five weeks had been packed up with pleas by fellow librarians to call our Senators to push for a vote. I dunno if our calls had much effect, but they FINALLY held a floor vote today... and Hayden passed 74 to 18, making her the first woman and first African-American Librarian running our nation's largest library.

It wasn't even a close vote because there wasn't much scandal or controversy involving Hayden or the Library of Congress itself (although the LOC is under calls to upgrade aging tech to improve its archival and copyrighting responsibilities). And yet her vote was on hold because someone wanted to be a jerkass.

Government isn't really broken, America. Government just has one branch under the whims of a political party - Republicans in both House and Senate - that wants to act like it's broken.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Yup. We say government is bad and government is the problem and we're gonna prove it to you...

-Doug in Oakland