GOP’s Blocking Nobel Winner From Fed, Exposes Broken Senate
October 12, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—Meet Peter Diamond, distinguished MIT professor, accomplished economist and the recent recipient of the Nobel prize in economics for his brilliant work on employment policies. By any standard, Diamond would be more than qualified to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, but the Republican minority in the senate has taken obstructionism to such extremes, Diamond’s nomination has been blocked since April. Why? Republican senators, particularly Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama say Diamond is not qualified. The senate is so broken as an institution that a single lawmaker can anonymously block a nomination, and force our country’s highest legislative body to a standstill. And imperil the functioning of the federal government at a time of a deep rescission and two wars for political gain.
Senate Republicans have abused the arcane rules of the senate at unprecedented levels, filibustering even the smallest of measures and placing secret holds on the President’s nominees, to prevent simple up-or-down votes.
Unable to bring Diamond’s nomination to the floor for a vote, the senate sent the nomination back to the White House in August and the President sent it back in September.
Both President Obama and Robert Gibbs, the White House secretary issued statements blasting the Senate Republicans for obstructing a vote on Diamond’s nomination.
The New York Times reports:
‘“Obstructing a nominee as well qualified as Peter in a time of economic crisis is a harmful attempt to score political points that hurts our middle class and our broader economic recovery,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said in a statement.”
“Mr. Obama issued a separate statement congratulating Mr. Diamond and pointing out his expertise in unemployment and housing. “I hope he will be confirmed by the Senate as quickly as possible,” Mr. Obama said.”
Shelby released his own statement, dismissing the Nobel prize as coming from a socialist type European organization that has no bearing on U.S. lawmakers.
‘“While the Nobel Prize for Economics is a significant recognition, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences does not determine who is qualified to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,” Mr. Shelby said, according to the spokesman.”
This is lunacy. As the Political Animal’s Steve Benen points out, Shelby wasn’t so picky with his standards when approving Bush’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board.
“The Alabaman has argued that Diamond’s background is not in monetary policy, which is true, but it’s hardly a prerequisite — of the five sitting Fed governors at the time of Diamond’s nomination, three are not specialists in monetary economics. One of Bush’s appointees has no advanced degree in economics and has never done any academic research in the field. Shelby never raised questions about his qualifications and didn’t hesitate to support that nomination.”
But that was then and this is now. Today, the acute Obama derangement syndrome that has taken hold of the Republican party, dictates that if Obama wants it then they must oppose it, regardless of whether their actions harm the country.