GOP senator threatens to block Biden nominees to punish Democrats for being mean


But Sen. John Barrasso said four years ago that a new president should get his Cabinet.

A top Senate Republican suggested on Sunday that he plans to obstruct the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees. But four years ago, he railed against similar delays for Donald Trump's picks.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said on "Fox News Sunday" that he hopes Republicans keep control of the Senate so they can make sure Biden's nominees "run the gauntlet."

Noting the "crucial" upcoming January runoffs for two Georgia Senate seats, the third-ranking Senate Republican said, "if you want accountability, and not just a rubber-stamp for a Joe Biden Cabinet, you need to have people like me as chairman of the Energy Committee — so we will have hearings, ask the tough questions."

He then vowed to hold a grudge over his perceived mistreatment of Trump's nominees.

"We are not going to forget what happened with President Trump's administration and the delayed process that went through it," he said. "So it's not going to be a garden party if the Republicans are in the majority."

Barrasso complained in early 2017 that the Democratic minority in the Senate was using its limited power to slow down the confirmations of Cabinet nominees. Reminded that Republicans had used similar tactics four years earlier to delay some of Obama's nominations, Barrasso suggested that it was somehow okay because Obama had been in his second term.

"That was not a new president, newly elected," he told the Washington Post at the time. "A newly elected president, I believe, has a right to their Cabinet."

A Barrasso spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Fact-checkers have noted that the speed of confirmation for Trump's team was not entirely the fault of Senate Democrats. Trump was slow to name many selections and selected several people whom he himself would later call terrible picks. And many of the appointees were held up by Senate Republicans, not Democrats, hoping to win policy concessions.

"It is certainly true that Democrats have used their institutional prerogatives to slow things down," Vanderbilt University political science professor David Lewis told PolitiFact in March 2018. "That said, Republicans have as well."

In April 2019, Republicans changed Senate rules to significantly shorten the amount of time allowed for debate on presidential appointees. Barrasso voted with his party to make this change.

In June, Barrasso bragged that the confirmation process was now moving quickly, especially for Trump's over 200 lifetime judicial appointments.

"The Republican-led Senate has seated President Trump's highly qualified judicial nominees at lightning speed," he said.

Several Senate Republicans have already signaled that they plan to deny Biden his Cabinet selections if Democrats don't win a majority.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.