Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.) on Wednesday castigated Senate Democrats for trying to delay or block President Donald Trump's judicial and executive branch nominees, focusing on one man who was originally nominated by former President Barack Obama.
Lankford spoke on the Senate floor to discuss Trump's nomination of Scott Palk to be a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Trump nominated Palk back in May, after Obama initially nominated him for the same position.
"He shouldn't be a controversial nominee and he should already be a judge. We're missing three judges in the Western District of Oklahoma," Lankford said. "President Trump nominated him on May the 8th and it's now the end of October, when we can finally get him to the floor to be able to move him."
Lankford argued that someone who both Trump and Obama nominated should receive bipartisan support.
The Oklahoma Republican then noted that while Palk's nomination easily passed out of committee in June and passed a cloture vote 79-18 on Wednesday, the Senate still had 30 hours of debate time to consider the nominee.
"This delay tactic, this stalling tactic that's out there, this resist movement to try to prevent the president of the United States from getting his staff in every agency and to prevent judges from being able to actually go onto the bench, is delaying good people that are not controversial to be able to do the job that is needed in each district," Lankford said.
Lankford called for the Senate to change the body's rules to what former Democratic leader Harry Reid (Nev.) proposed: reducing the debate time on the Senate floor for district-level or equivalent nominees from 30 hours to only two hours. Higher-level nominees would have more time for debate, but less than 30 hours.
"These are individuals that have already gone through committee, already gone through extensive vetting, already moved to the floor, and then most certainly will pass, because it's a simple majority to be able to move these individuals based on the change of rules that, at that time, Senator Reid led," Lankford said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said earlier this month that he has taken steps in Congress to stop efforts by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and his caucus to obstruct the confirmation process for Trump's federal nominees.