Report: Shelby Blocks All Obama Nominations In The Senate Over AL Earmarks
Evan McMorris-Santoro | February 4, 2010, 9:19PM

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 magazine reported aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were the source of the news about Shelby’s blanket hold.

The Mobile Press-Register picked up the story early this afternoon. The paper confirmed Reid’s account of the hold, and reported that a Shelby spokesperson “did not immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking confirmation of the senator’s action or his reason for doing so.”

Shelby has been tight-lipped about the holds, offering only an unnamed spokesperson to reporters today to explain them. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke the news of the blanket hold this afternoon. Reid aides told Congress Daily the hold extends to “all executive nominations on the Senate calendar.”

According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama’s nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track. The two programs Shelby wants to move forward or else:

I mean this with every fiber of my being:
1. ALL of these appointments should now become recess appointments.
2. NOT ONE DAMN DIME should go to the State of Alabama. I just don’t mean Shelby’s earmarks, but every other Congressman from Alabama – NONE of them should have their earmark requests honored until they decide to ‘ police their own’ and bitchslap this mofo back in line.
3. IFFF you run on being against earmarks, then you should be forced to walk the walk of your talk. NO EARMARKS FOR YOU – let the money go to those Representatives and Senators that are willing to step up to the plate with a YEAH vote on earmarks.

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