OBSTRUCTION

Senate GOP Plays Politics With Treasury

Using arcane Senate rules that allow individual lawmakers to grind presidential appointments to a halt, the Treasury Department has seen a number of posts go unfilled for long stretches over unrelated complaints from GOP Senators. The holds are anonymous and thus their reasons are often not made public, but The Washington Post finds that the holdup centered on issues that were unaffected by the appointments in question, including a plan in Canada to ban fruit-flavored cigarettes and a dispute over online gambling. After President Obama directly challenged the GOP to speed up the process in February, over two dozen appointees were confirmed, but Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who also blocked unemployment benefits earlier this year, still has holds on two senior Treasury officials.