Senator Inhofe Strikes
Back - Vows To Hold
Up Clinton Nominations
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 15:48:05 EDT
From RMNews:

About two weeks ago, the propeller fell off a plane that Senator James Inhofe was piloting by himself.
Aviation experts stated that propellers DO NOT FALL OFF AIRPLANES.
Many people speculated that Inhofe, one of President Clinton's most vocal critics was targeted for "eradication", i.e. death. The "falling propeller" incident was intended to make Senator Inhofe the latest addition to the "Clinton List of Dead Bodies"
It appears that Senator Inhofe has struck back. I have inserted the New York Times article in this email, and I have also included the link.
The Senator needs our support and prayers. We suggest you send him a note of support: <
In Protest of Clinton Action, Senator Blocks Nominations By Philip Shenon 6-9-99
WASHINGTON -- All of President Clinton's civilian nominations before the Senate were blocked indefinitely on Tuesday by a conservative Republican senator in protest of Clinton's decision to name a gay philanthropist as an ambassador without Senate confirmation.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., vowed to hold up the nominations -- including that of Lawrence Summers as Treasury secretary and Richard Holbrooke as chief U.S. diplomat to the United Nations -- until the White House agreed to strict limitations on the use of so-called recess appointments.
Inhofe accused Clinton of a "flagrant abuse of the recess appointment power" when, during last week's congressional recess, he appointed James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg.
The senator described Hormel, a San Francisco businessman and heir to a meat-packing fortune, as a "gay activist who puts his agenda ahead of the agenda of America." He would be the first openly gay U.S. ambassador.
Under the terms of a recess appointment, Hormel can serve without Senate approval until the end of the next session of Congress, which is likely to be the fall of 2000.
Inhofe has long opposed the nomination of Hormel, whose initial nomination as ambassador died on the Senate floor last year because Republican leaders would not let it be brought to a vote.
Under a custom that stretches back generations, a single senator can block any nomination pending before the Senate. The question is how far Inhofe and his conservative allies in the Senate will try to push this issue, and for how long. If nominations are blocked indefinitely, Democrats in the Senate would almost certainly retaliate by blocking legislative matters of importance to Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott joined Inhofe in criticizing Hormel's recess appointment, describing it as "a subversion of the confirmation process."
But Lott indicated he was unlikely to go along with Inhofe's blanket objection to all of the president's pending nominations, because that could hold up a variety of other Senate business.
He said it "would not be my inclination" to allow a single senator to singlehandedly block all nominations. "I wouldn't honor a hold indefinitely," he said.
Still, Lott conceded that Inhofe had the right to hold up nominations on a case-by-case basis, so long as his opponents did not come up with the 60 votes needed under Senate rules to stop him.
White House spokesman Barry Toiv said, "It's hard to imagine that the Senate would allow itself to be prevented from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities over one senator's unhappiness with a particular appointment."
Clinton, Toiv said, "has been very selective and judicious in his use of the recess appointment," noting that Clinton had made 57 such appointments during his presidency, compared with 239 by President Ronald Reagan and 78 by President George Bush.
In a telephone interview, Inhofe said he was prepared to "take this as far as necessary," even if that meant a long delay before Senate confirmation of Summers, who has been nominated to replace Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
"There could be a lot of trauma with that one," Inhofe said of a possible delay in approval of a Treasury secretary. The value of the dollar fell broadly Tuesday against other major currencies, a situation that currency traders described as a reflection at least in some small part of the concern that Summers might not be confirmed quickly.
Inhofe said he would continue to block the nominations until Clinton agreed to refrain from making recess appointments or to make them only if Congress was notified in advance that they were "absolutely necessary."
A similar deal was worked out in 1985 between the Reagan administration and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., who was then Senate majority leader. Byrd held up thousands of nominations, including several appellate judgeships and two high-ranking United Nations nominees.
"I'm going to go as far as Bob Byrd did," Inhofe said. "Obviously, President Reagan did something he shouldn't have done, and he learned his lesson."
Inhofe is known for a fiery brand of conservatism and for his passionate determination, if not stubbornness.
While a member of the House, he was instrumental in changing House rules to loosen control of the House leadership over what bills were allowed to come to a vote.
The measure forced the House to make public the names of lawmakers who had signed so-called discharge petitions to force bills out of committee, allowing the public and lobbyists to identify nonsigners and pressure them to bypass the committees and their powerful chairmen.
Senate customs that permit a single lawmaker to hold up the workings of the government might seem undemocratic. But they have a long, romantic history in the clubby confines of the Senate.
"It's the 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' view of government," said Richard Baker, the Senate's historian.
"The rules from the very beginning of the institution have assumed, without spelling it out in great detail, that a senator from even a small, thinly populated state has the right to protect that state's interests against precipitous legislation or presidential nominations that might be out of touch with the views of the state."
Inhofe's action on Tuesday has an immediate impact on seven mid-level Clinton administration nominees who are awaiting confirmation. They include nominees to be an assistant secretary of energy, an assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and ambassador to the Federal States of Micronesia.