May 12th, 2009
10:51 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama Official Expected to be rejected by Senate Wednesday

WASHINGTON (CNN)– The Senate Democratic leadership is preparing to lose a vote Wednesday morning on the confirmation of David Hayes as Deputy Secretary of Interior. If that happens, it would be the first time Congress votes to reject one of President Obama’s nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley tells CNN that Democrats believe Republicans will vote in lockstep to block Hayes’ nomination, and therefore, it will fail.

Republican objections to Hayes appear to have little to do with him or his qualifications, and more to do with an Obama administration policy.

Specifically, Utah Republican Robert Bennett has been leading his party’s opposition to Hayes because of an Obama decision to cancel oil and gas leases in Utah.

“This is not about Hayes,” Bennett spokeswoman Tara Hendershott tells CNN.

She says Bennett is blocking Hayes because the Department of Interior “has not provided any information he requested regarding the Secretary’s unilateral decision to cancel the oil and gas leases.”

If Republicans do successfully block Hayes’ nomination, it will be the starkest illustration yet of what it means for Democrats to have 59 seats – just one shy of a filibuster proof majority – as the Minnesota Senate race remains unresolved.

“The American people deserve better than political games that do nothing but waste their time. And the President deserves to have a complete lineup when his team takes the field on the most important issues we face,” Manley, Reid’s spokesman, says.

Manley says that if Hayes does in fact fail, as they expect, it is unclear whether the White House will pull his nomination, or try to find a way to revive it.

Filed under: Extra • President Obama • Republican
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Peter E

    So they even admit it's just about politics? That's really not going to get the GOP back on track to be a leading party. If a man is qualified for a job, he should just get it. The GOP is making the same mistakes as the democrats did starting in 2002, picking all the wrong fights, becoming less relevant as a party seen as nothing but obstructionists. And just like the democrats of those years, they make zero effort to come up with viable alternatives. This is just going to delay any comeback by the republicans for more years!

    May 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. Scott

    Reid's spokesman, Manley, believes that anyone Obama nominates should be confirmed, no questions asked. Hmm, sounds like a dictatorship philosopy to me, not the true American checks and balance system.

    May 12, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  3. John in NJ

    I can only hope the public is watching this. Especially since Bennett's own spokesperson is saying it's not about the candidate but about policy. Do you all hear that...EVEN IF THE CANDIDATE IS QUALIFIED, HE WILL BE BLOCKED BECAUSE HIS POLICIES DO NOT AGREE WITH THE SENATOR'S. I hope this makes is crystal clear to anyone still doubting that this is the party of "no".

    May 12, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. Jayden,FL

    "Republican objections to Hayes appear to have little to do with him or his qualifications, and more to do with an Obama administration policy." This is why the American People will continue to reject the Republicans! the party of NO

    May 12, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. Trying to understand....

    Why do Republicans hate the country so much?

    May 12, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  6. Debbie

    Yeah, this is really going to help your cause, Republicans. 21% and dropping...

    May 12, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  7. dirt

    It's hard to believe that Lincoln was a republican with pictures being released of US service personel in a bad light. The best answer for that is don't stand in the light, is this really about the servicemen doing there duty or about the commander-in chief that condoned this behavior. How can we talk about the freedom of some but not for all we don't like our enimies to torture but it's ok for us to do it. Just realize most countries in the world do not like us, just send money and stay home.

    May 12, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  8. Tom in CA

    ..., and it illustrates the party of NO!

    May 12, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  9. Dave

    If any liberal honestly believes that the obama administration is NOT honoring oil&gas lease contracts in Utah for political positioning and outright hatred for republicans in are very naive (which only provides an explanation for the great Novemeber Mistake).

    May 12, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  10. Tom in CA

    ..., then do a recess appointment!

    May 12, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  11. Jim

    I don't see how blocking this nominee achieves anything. The Republicans aren’t just the party of NO, they are also the party of WAAAHHHH!!! In this case these leases should never have been granted. They will hurt tourism in these areas.

    May 12, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  12. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Could this be a tax issue or is there something more???Stay tuned!!

    May 12, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  13. Gordon Shumway

    What is the matter with this guy? He paid his taxes and isn't a crook?

    May 12, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. MrBoo

    So, the Dema are so convinced that their way is the only way, and the Republicans should stop being an opposition party and become the DNC's lap dogs, for the good of the country? Really?

    Have they forgotten eight years of fighting Bush at every turn?

    May 12, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  15. Happy Lady

    True bipartisanship at work

    May 12, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  16. Nick

    Is bennet up for election next year? We should get rid of him. He seems to be only keen on obstruction.

    May 12, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  17. Reading in So. Cal

    Politics as usual. The republicans will be seen for who they are.

    May 12, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  18. Peter (CA)

    It's "not about Hayes". It's about the Republicans being the most petty and childish leaders I have seen in many years. A bunch of whiny prima donnas who will hold their breath until they get what they want.

    Fine. But this stuff will be remembered in 2010.

    May 12, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  19. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Republican objections to Hayes appear to have little to do with him or his qualifications, and more to do with an Obama administration policy. Republicans will vote in lockstep to block Hayes’ nomination, and therefore, it will fail

    Now this is the party that says they need a new image, right? So they are not going to hire this guy because why? So where is that " maverick " John McCain to fix this travesty?

    May 13, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  20. Val in Greensboro, NC

    It would be my guess that the American public is keeping a careful tally of the times when Congresspeople and Senators, of any party, engage in blocking progress for reasons that are not directly related to the issue at hand. If they can show just cause for why an issue is being held up, then by all means do so, and do it quickly. Please, we are TIRED of the petty power plays!

    May 13, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. Perez Franz

    LOL LOL LOL Republican politicians strike again, not because they have a problem with the candidate, but because they are trying to make a point. Great job GOP, point made, you are a party doing every thing you can to disrupt government instead of doing your jobs. This kind of inaction is one of the reasons I left the Republican party, and one of the reasons I will probably not be back (unless you let Ron Paul run things)

    May 13, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  22. Bob

    Wasn't Bush's Dept of Interior Secretary Thornkemp in charge when his staff was literally sleeping with the oil company's staff they were supposed to be regulating?? And wasn't this shill also the one that paid over a $1/4 million dollars to refurbish his personal bathroom at the Interior Dept?........I guess its just "different" when you're a republican.....

    May 13, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  23. Vanessa

    There seems to be no limit to how petty the Senate Republicans can be...much like a spoiled child stamping his foot when he doesn't get his own way. Elections have consequences. Have they not learned that yet?

    May 13, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. Susan in NC

    How absurd is this? Admitedly blocking a qualified candidate because of an on-going "fight" that has nothing whatsoever to do with the job or his qualifications to do the job - nonsense! The Party of No is alive and well. How long will we continue being stupid enough to keep sending these same jerks back to Congress? Is this true representation of the American people?

    May 13, 2009 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  25. js007

    The GOP siding with the oil companies yet again? Say it isn't so!

    May 13, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
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