Sometimes it’s what’s not on the agenda


The US Senate is the major gatekeeper to many of the high level agency jobs in the US government. And we admit it – our curiosity was piqued when we saw notification of a nominations hearing this week at the Senate Commerce Committee. And the staff there confirmed that the proposed nominations of Democrat Jonathan Adelstein and Republican Deborah Taylor Tate are both pending. But neither is on this week’s agenda. And after this week, senators will be spread far and wide as the legislative body takes about a month off. We were told that there are no specific plans to put the names before the committee, and there will certainly be no action before September.

RBR/TVBR observation: Everybody in Washington knows that each party gets its share of each panel of commissioners, and each party tends to grant the other a certain amount of leeway. Only the most egregiously partisan or otherwise infamous nominees arouse serious opposition. Neither Adelstein nor Tate seem to be in the egregious category, and the equal opportunity pairing of nominees from each party tends to make it even easier to get a unanimous pass-through from the average committee. On occasion, a nomination will be held up by a cantankerous senator over an entirely unrelated matter – and Adelstein can relate to that, having been held hostage at various times by no less than former senator and majority leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and current presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ). Will the pair ever get on the committee schedule? Stay tuned.