I’ve never been a confrontational person., but suddenly I can’t stand it anymore. I grew up in Washington, D.C. surrounded by politicians and newsmakers, but fled the city the moment I came of age because I wanted to write fiction. Inside the Beltway, truth is more often stranger than fiction so I felt I could find my subjects and my settings more easily in other places.
But I can’t stand what’s happening to the country I love and so I’ve started making phone calls, marching, shouting, and demanding, something I never even did in the 60s. I marched then, but meekly at the back of the line. I went along because I didn’t want to be singled out if I didn’t. Perhaps it’s age or more likely, a deep-seated fear that I’m going to see the democracy I love dismantled by a demagogue. So today I wrote this letter to Senator Mitch McConnell about his venal efforts to rush the nominees for the Cabinet through the Senate without proper vetting.
January 9, 2017
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 201510
Dear Senator McConnell,
I note that you insisted to Harry Reid on Feb. 12, 2009 (two weeks after President Obama’s inauguration) that the Presidential nominees had to submit to an “appropriate review…consistent with the long standing and best practices of committees, regardless of which political party is in the majority. These best practices serve the Senate well, and we will insist on their fair and consistent application.”
I therefore demand that, rather than rushing nominees through the confirmation process as you have proposed to do, you apply these exact same requirements to the nominees that Donald Trump has put forward. In case you have forgotten what they are, I include a copy of the 8 requirements herewith. Again, sir, please note that these are your words.
The American people join with you when you say, “WE EXPECT THE FOLLOWING STANDARDS WILL BE MET.”
- The FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a hearing being noticed.
- The Office of Government Ethics letter is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a committee hearing.
- Financial disclosure statements (and tax returns for applicable committees) are complete and submitted to the committee for review prior to a hearing being noticed.
- All committee questionnaires are complete and have been returned to the committee. A reasonable opportunity for follow-up questions has been afforded committee members, and nominees have answered, with sufficient time for review prior to a committee vote.
- The nominee is willing to have committee staff interviews, where that has been the practice.
- The nominee has had a hearing.
- The nominee agrees to courtesy visits with members when requested.
- The nominee has committed to cooperate with the Ranking Member on requests for information and transparency.
These common sense standards and long standing practices will ensure that the Senate has had the opportunity to fairly review a nominee’s record and to make an informed decision prior to a vote.”
Senator McConnell, as a voting American citizen who continues to believe in democracy, I demand that you apply the same standards to Republican nominees “regardless of which political party is in the majority.”
If not, sir, then I cannot believe that you are upholding the will of the people and the rule of law that governs our great country.