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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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MARCH 28, 2018

     It's about time - let's move on.  Senate Republicans fed up with the Democrats' refusal to allow confirmation votes on a slew of critical appointments - including the high-profile case of the Trump administration's first openly gay ambassadorial nominee – may move more aggressively to finally break the logjam. "It's time to end this partisan spectacle. We have 78 more nominees for various jobs who’ve made it through their committee hearings and are waiting for a vote on this floor," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on the floor of the Senate last week. "Most of these people have bipartisan support, they can be confirmed easily."

     Barrasso wants to change a rule that allows for 30 hours of Senate discussion for each nominee, which Republicans say effectively allows Democrats to jam up the appointment process to a ridiculously slow crawl. Barrasso wants to limit the number of hours of discussion down to eight - a standard Democrats themselves supported under the Obama administration. "It’s time to return to the rules for debating nominations that the Senate used four years ago … Democrats controlled the Senate at the time – and a Democrat was making the nominations, that was President Obama," Barrasso said.

     The logjam holding up one particular nomination has attracted more attention in recent weeks, and may be contributing to the effort to change the rules. Richard Grenell, a conservative and experienced foreign policy expert who is openly gay, was nominated by Trump to be ambassador to Germany last year, but remains among those held up in the process.  Grenell's nomination, which has been championed by a broad range of Republican and conservative officials and commentators, recently picked up the support of a liberal gay rights group, the Harvey Milk Foundation.

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