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Merkley Statement on Senate Agreement to Confirm Nominees

July 16, 2013

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the Senate voted 71-29 to end a Republican filibuster on the nomination of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Facing a possible change in Senate rules to prevent filibusters of executive branch nominees, Senate Republicans agreed to end filibusters on seven positions, including the Secretary of Labor, the Administrator of the EPA, the National Labor Relations Board, and the chairmanship of the Export-Import Bank.

“It has become evident to all that the Senate has gone from being a ‘cooling saucer,’ as envisioned by George Washington, to a deep freeze, paralyzing our government’s ability to get things done. Today’s agreement to confirm President Obama’s team is a historic step toward restoring the Senate to what it should be.

“This is a big win for the American people. We face major challenges as a nation and we can’t take on those challenges if the Senate’s dysfunction is hamstringing our other two, coequal branches of government.  The American people have told us to we need to stop the gridlock and get things done. Today’s deal is a step forward in making our government work better and be more responsive to the people.

“This decision means real things for real people. With Cordray’s confirmation, we will have a cop on the beat to protect American families from shady practices on Wall Street. With McCarthy’s confirmation, the EPA can put in place new rules to fight global climate change and ensure that the air our children breathe and the water they drink is safe and clean.  And the NLRB will be able to continue its work as a referee between workers and employers. 

“My goal has always been to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate, in which filibusters are rare, and up or down votes are given to nearly every executive nomination.  Hopefully today’s agreement will mark a return to that historic role.  However, if the minority party decides to continue to engage in a systematic obstruction strategy, we will yet again need to revisit the rules discussion.”

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