Tell me again how Republicans are supposedly NOT being blatant obstructionists?

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary “blanket hold” on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.

“While holds are frequent,” CongressDaily‘s Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report (sub. req.), “Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal.”

The Mobile Press-Register picked up the story early this afternoon. The paper confirmed Reid’s account of the hold…. Reid aides told CongressDaily the hold extends to “all executive nominations on the Senate calendar.”

Why does he do it, you ask? It’s all about the Benjamins. Extorted Benjamins. Give me all your money or the kitten country gets it.

The key issue is that Shelby wants the Air Force to tweak an RFP for refueling tankers so that Airbus (partnered with Northrup Grumman) would win the bid again over Boeing. The contract had been awarded in 2008, but the GAO found that the Air Force had erred in calculating the award. After the Air Force wrote a new RFP in preparation to rebid the contract, Airbus calculated that it would not win the new bid, and started complaining. Now, Airbus is threatening to withdraw from the competition unless the specs in the RFP are revised.

Essentially, then, Shelby’s threat is primarily about gaming this bidding process to make sure Airbus–and not Boeing–wins the contract (there’s a smaller program he’s complaining about, too, but this is the truly huge potential bounty for his state).

The really interesting thing about this is the complete double standard that this reveals.

The reason he is doing this is because is because he can. He will pay no political price for this whatsoever. The beltway media will not flay him alive like they did Nelson, even though the 100 billion dollar potential contract to a company propped up by foreign governments is ONE THOUSAND times bigger than the 100 million dollar Nebraska sweetheart deal that Nelson received. Not only will he not pay a price, but, in a couple of weeks, you can guarantee that Shelby will be intoning gravely about deficit spending and pork on one of the Sunday shows, and NO ONE will call him on it. Remember his rhetoric during the stimulus debate?

So, in short, I’m just not sure why anyone is surprised by this. Like any serial liar and thief, the reason he is doing it is because he can. Remember- IOKIYAR.

Let’s see, Ben Nelson tries to extort $100 million for Nebraska and he is raked over the coals in the media for weeks.

Rep. Dickson McShelbyville tries to extort $100 BILLION for his state and the Villagers will all yawn and just write this off as just another cute Republican prank.

As the old saw goes: What’s good for me is definitely not good for thee.

{ 1 comment }
  1. schu says:

    This is business as usual in congress. And if you think this is bad, look at Boeing's record and the fact that they own enough of the AF to get the contract rewritten.

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