Flashback: Sen. Wyden Was Against Partisan Obstructionism Before He Supported It

• January 31, 2017 5:22 pm


Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee were visibly absent on Tuesday as they boycotted confirmation votes for two of President Trump's Cabinet nominees: Steve Mnuchin for treasury secretary and Tom Price for health and human services secretary.

The committee's ranking member, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), participated in the boycott, despite having a history of condemning obstructionist tactics in the Senate.

"There may be a senator around here who becomes known as ‘Senator Obstruction.' Senator Obstruction is the one who is trying to block public business. Let them explain it to the American people," Wyden said on the Senate floor in 2011 in a video flagged by America Rising Squared.

When it came to former President Obama's Cabinet nominees, Senate Democrats emphasized the importance of confirming his picks promptly and not delaying confirmation votes.

"We have always had the tradition of moving these nominees as quickly as we possibly could," Sen. Diane Feinstein (D., Calif.) said in 2008.

"My idea would be to go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom with them, so the American people get a package as a whole. And I'd like to do all that, of course, before the inauguration," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) said in 2008.

"I think we owe deference to a president for choices to executive positions, and I think that is a very important thing to grapple with," Sen. Tim Kaine (D. Va.) said in 2013. "The American public choose someone to be president, they're giving that individual the mandate to govern, and that mandate includes the assembly of a team that the president feels is the appropriate team."

"The confirmation of all these important people–the attorney general, the treasury secretary, the secretary of state, and so many other important Cabinet officials–all that is so important," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said in 2009.