Editorial: The Senate’s Misplaced Priorities

Their blocking of dozens of nominations undermines the fight against terrorism, among other issues.

Editorial: The Senate’s Misplaced Priorities
Foto: EFE / EFE

After the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the country’s main priority is fighting terrorism. However,  the person in charge of investigating the financial ties of these terrorists is being occupied by a substitute and it is not known when the new official will start working. The reason for this is the Republican Senate’s intent to block any action led by President Barack Obama, making the current session of that part of the Legislature the one in which fewer nominations have been confirmed in the past 30 years.

The case of Adam Szubin, designated last April by the White House to occupy the seat of Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence stands out for the contradictions existing between the legislators who criticize Obama for not doing anything about it and their blatant blocking of the President’s efforts. The position of the government official in charge of tracking down ISIS’ finances is being temporarily occupied by Szubin. The fact that he has not yet been confirmed by the Senate lessens his credibility and gave his work a sense of timing that diminishes his efforts and negotiations with international allies.

It is estimated that there are over 30 pending nominations made by the President alongside Szubin’s. Among them, important officials such as Thomas Shannon, who was nominated for Undersecretary for Political Affairs, and Brian Egan, who will be Legal Advissor, both for the Department of State, are awaiting confirmation. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson is also waiting her turn along with other people in line for seats in the Treasury Department. The Senate Committee on Banking has shamefully refused to approve even one nomination without offering a reason.

We are very concerned about the case of the 19 judge nominations, four of which are Latino, which are also on hold. It is especially troublesome now that there are 30 judicial emergencies in several jurisdiction due to the accumulation of cases because of a lack of judges. At the beginning of the year, there were only 12. The purpose of the obstruction is to prevent Obama from leaving a legacy judges in place who will be there for life.

It is apparent that the Senate’s priority is to thwart Obama’s efforts over fighting terrorism or the country’s foreign policy or the lack of judges. This partisan priority causes great harm because it paralyzes parts of the government that are crucial. This is not leadership.