Menendez Supports Change in Senate Rules to Address Unprecedented Filibusters

Menendez Supports Change in Senate Rules to Address Unprecedented Filibusters

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today voted in favor of changes to United States Senate rules to overcome Republicans' unparalleled obstruction of qualified nominees to judicial and executive posts. He released the following statement:

"The American people have had enough. Enough of the gridlock, inaction and disregard for the concerns of middle class families. This is not a decision made easily, but the abuse of rules and the unprecedented obstruction against this President by the other side have brought us here. We must return to the people's business.

"We cannot continue to punish the federal courts and anyone who is waiting for their day in court. The founding fathers trusted the Senate with the confirmation of nominees and the President with filling vacancies as they appear. True to his duty, the President has been nominating highly qualified nominees to vacant positions throughout the country. Yet the country has watched Republicans circumvent regular order and refuse to consider nominees at an unprecedented rate. Our country cannot function if the Senate cannot fulfill even its basic Constitutional duty.

"We have repeatedly tried to work with our colleagues and we have used every other option possible. Earlier this year, both sides agreed to consider certain nominees and give these qualified candidates up or down votes in a timely manner by unanimous consent, except in extraordinary circumstances. Later, Republicans abandoned any pretext for delay and announced that they would not consider any nominees to the District of Columbia Circuit Court and they blocked qualified Executive nominees including Mel Watt-the first time since the Civil War that a sitting Member of Congress has been filibustered. Their refusal is not because they believe any of the nominees to be unqualified, but because they want to obstruct action in the Senate and focus on unrelated political issues.

"That is why earlier today, I voted to create a new Senate precedent to allow the Senate to fulfill its Constitutional duty and decide non-Supreme Court nominees on a majority vote. This change in precedent will restore the right of any majority, whether it is Democrat or Republican, to operate as the American people expect us to."

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