Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is not impressed with Republican senators right now. Reid, a staunch believer in old school traditions and process, must be beside himself to see Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shred regular order in a maniacal effort to obstruct President Obama. Today on the Senate floor Reid accused Republicans of bowing to the Koch brothers with their SCOTUS blockade against Judge Merrick Garland.
Reid blasted Senator Grassley for refusing to do his job, “Senator Grassley is overreaching … the senior senator from Iowa continues to overreach by turning the Senate Judiciary Committee into the Benghazi Committee – a narrowly partisan committee masquerading as an independent body.”
The Judiciary Chair’s tenure has been marked political stunts, Reid said. “It was a political stunt when he demanded the maternity leave records of one of Secretary Clinton’s staffers. Another stunt was blocking confirmation of State Department Legal Advisor Brian Egan. Another political stunt was blocking the promotions list of career foreign service officers. And his latest political stunt is preventing the Senate from considering President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.”
Reid pointed out all of the special interest driving the Republican obstruction (not the least of which is Heritage Action and the Judicial Crisis Network), “Senator Moran was for meeting with Merrick Garland and holding confirmation hearings until the Judicial Crisis Network and the Tea Party Patriots threatened him.” Reid blasted Republicans for taking orders from the Koch brothers, “It will surprise no one to learn that the Koch brothers and their dark money help fund both of these radical organizations.”
Reid is correct, as pointed out by my colleague RMuse:
For example, a Koch-founded organization, the Wellspring Committee funds another Koch 501(c)4 social welfare organization, the “Judicial Crisis Network.” The Judicial Crisis Network’s only purpose is issuing Koch propaganda to influence public opinion, and to either reward or punish Republican Senators depending on whether or not they vote in lockstep to advance the Koch Brothers’ interests. Since the Kochs’ interests are founded on abolishing all federal regulations as “unconstitutional,” specifically those affecting the oil, gas and coal industries, it is crucial that the Kochs maintain control of the Supreme Court; it is why they desperately want to keep their conservative majority intact. It is also why Republicans immediately obeyed the Kochs and began telling Americans it was their right to decide who nominates the “right kind of prospective Justice.”
The Judicial Crisis Network invested seven-figures for an ad buy that features a 30-second television spot entitled “Let the People Decide.” The narrator parrots what Republicans in Congress quickly learned was the Koch brothers’ plan to convince Americans that Republicans in the Senate, and not the Constitution decide who, when, why, and how Justices are nominated and confirmed.
“Instead of caving to the Republican leader and the Koch brothers, it’s time for Republican senators to take a stand and do their job,” Reid charged, no doubt disgusted with the divergence from regular order and process. “I hope the remaining Republican senators who were open to a meeting will stand firm. I hope they will meet with Judge Garland and then take the next step in the process – hold confirmation hearings.”
“That’s what the American people want,” Reid demanded. “They want Republicans to stop cowering before the most extreme forces within their Party and just do their job. That’s all we’re asking. It’s as simple as that.”
Now this could all be partisan games, except that what Grassley is doing is unprecedented and it is in service of the Koch brothers and special interests. This has been noted in newspaper editorials around the country and in his home state. Grassley’s own constituents showed up to his town hall events angry and confused over his refusal to do his job.
Republicans are defying their Constitutional duty in order to delegitimize President Obama’s powers as president. Powers granted to him in two elections in which he also won the popular vote. The public has spoken and they want President Obama to pick their next SCOTUS.
But big business has other ideas and so Senator Grassley can’t do his job because the Koch brothers are pulling the strings.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.