Bond, Brownback join McCaskill's crusade to end secret holds
Update: *Sam Brownback’s office just e-mailed the Star to say that: “We have let Senator McCaskill’s office know that Senator Brownback has agreed to sign on to the letter.”
That means McCaskill has rounded up the 67 commitment she needs to have the Senate vote to eliminate the long-standing practice of senators being able to anonymously hold up appointments. It’s a good cause supported by all except one Democratic senator and several Republicans, now including Missouri’s Kit Bond and Brownback from Kansas.
The office of GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says the Roberts does not intend to sign McCaskill’s letter.*
Previous post: U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, a Republican, says he wants his to be the decisive signature in Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign to get the Senate to abolish the longstanding practice of delaying appointments through “secret holds.”
That’s a nice show of Show Me State bonhomie. Though they hail from different parties, Bond and McCaskill are the linchpins of the Missouri delegation.
It’s also the right thing to do. As McCaskill has been saying, appointments to judgeships and key positions in the administration can be held up for months just because a senator slips an anonymous note to a clerk in the Senate cloakroom. The practice erodes transparency and slows down business.
McCaskill needs to get the signatures of 67 senators on a letter intended to go to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Having roped in the commitments of Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Richard Lugar of Indiana last week, McCaskill is down to finding her last two signatures.
Bond says he’ll provide one. In a statement to The Kansas City Star, the senator said: “I support opening government business to the public, which is why I voted to make holds public in 2006 and 2007 and I hope to be the winning 67th signature on Claire’s letter.”
Asked if that meant Bond actually intended to sign the letter, communications director Shana Marchio reponded, “Yep.”
So that leaves one signature to go. All Democrats have signed the letter, except for Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who has declined offers. So that means another Republican has to cross the line. How about McCaskill and Bond’s neighbors from Kansas? We’ll contact the offices of Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts today and ask where they stand.
Meanwhile, in case anybody gets the wrong impression that he’s going all mushy and bipartisan as his final term draws to a close, Bond added this in his statement:
While reforming ‘holds’ are important, the American people want to know what’s the ‘hold-up’ on passing a budget to stop runaway deficit spending, improving border security, enacting job-creating tax relief, approving job-growing free trade agreements, and reforming our entitlement programs.”
Follow Barb Shelly on Twitter.