- 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
- 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: <email@example.com
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.