At least 11 Republican senators in recent months have disclosed they’re blocking votes on nominees for agencies including the Energy, Agriculture, State, Homeland Security and Justice departments. The vast majority of those delays remain in place while the lawmakers demand concessions on issues such as ethanol regulations, marijuana, disaster funding and nuclear waste.
Such legislative roadblocks are not unusual in themselves: Senators of both parties frequently use whatever leverage they have to extract policy concessions from the executive branch. But the number coming from the GOP side is notable, especially as senior Republicans have raised the possibility of changing the Senate’s rules to make it harder for Democrats to block Trump’s appointees. And the delays are worsening a leadership shortage at many agencies, which have already been stretched by Trump’s slowness to nominate people for senior positions.
Even some fellow Republicans are starting to gripe about the GOP-caused delays.