Democrats Perfect Art of Delay While Republicans Fume Over Trump Nominees

“Not allowing the administration to take over the government is the wrong thing to do,” said Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership. “It is unacceptable. It’s outrageous. Something has to change.”

Here is what is happening: Democrats are requiring that Republicans check all the procedural boxes on most nominees, even those they intend to eventually support. That requires the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, to request a formal “cloture” vote to move forward.

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An “intervening day” is then required to allow the cloture request to “ripen.” Next is a vote to impose cloture followed by 30 hours of “post-cloture” debate before a final vote. Democrats have refused to shorten the debate time — to “yield back,” in the parlance of the Senate — though in most cases there is little to debate.

In the end, many Democrats end up voting for the nominee, as each of them did last week on a federal appeals court judge from Idaho.

“The level of obstruction exhibited by Senate Democrats on these nominees is just breathtaking,” Mr. McConnell said Monday as he castigated Democrats again for forcing “needless procedural votes on nominees they actually support.”

Republicans engaged in similar procedural combat after Democrats made the 2013 change, tying up the Senate to slow President Barack Obama’s push to fill judicial vacancies.

“We became pretty good at it ourselves,” acknowledged Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican. But he and…

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