Congress is Broken

Congress’ refusal to hold hearings and vote on the recent Supreme Court nominee is only the most recent example of the extreme obstruction and gridlock that has taken hold of the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

The Constitution directs the President to submit a nomination to the Senate for consideration.  While the Senate may approve or disapprove of the nominee, the process of publicly vetting and voting on the nominee acts as a restraint on unbridled partisan politics.  With the Senate’s failure to act on the recent Supreme Court nomination, the current leaders in that chamber – along with Alaska’s own U.S. Senators – have thrown aside even that limited check on Congressional intransigence and gridlock.  Both parties have at times been to blame for scorched earth partisan tactics that have tied our government in knots and things are now getting even worse in Washington.

The Problem is Bigger Than You Think

Unfortunately, Congressional obstruction is not limited to the recent Supreme Court nomination.  In addition to Congress’ failure to vote on 50 additional judicial nominees, more than 140 individuals for important executive positions have found their nominations stalled in the Senate.  One recent ambassador nominee died while waiting more than two years for a confirmation vote. 

As a retired Army officer, I found one of the most frustrating examples of this obstruction to be the Senate’s failure to act for eight months on a highly qualified nominee for the position of Secretary of the Army.  Congressional gridlock left the Army – with over one million soldiers and a budget of over $140 billion – without a civilian leader for that entire extended period of time.  

Another ongoing troubling example involves the nominee for the position of Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence – the person responsible for enforcing American sanctions against North Korea and Iran and for cutting off funding for terrorist groups.  He has now been awaiting a confirmation vote for more than a year.

We Need Independents In Washington

Both parties – Democrats and Republicans – have played the delay game, depending on who’s in power.  Our present elected representatives have decided that partisan politics is more important than having a functioning government.  If we want Congress to work for Alaska and the country, we need to retire our present political leaders and send Independents to Washington.  As an Independent, I will be committed to constructive politics, practical results, and fulfilling my constitutional duties.

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