It is really time to reform Senate rules.

Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho is blocking the promotions of more than 850 Air Force officers, including young pilots who fought in Iraq and the general nominated to bail out the scandal-plagued United States Air Force Academy, in a rare clash between the Pentagon and a senior Republican lawmaker.

Mr. Craig’s price to free the frozen promotions now awaiting final Senate approval? Four C-130 cargo planes for the Idaho Air National Guard.

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Under a Senate practice intended to encourage consensus, any senator can block action indefinitely and anonymously on a nomination, promotion or legislation. These secret holds are used frequently by senators of both parties to express displeasure not necessarily with a nominee but with an administration’s action or policy. But military promotions are typically whisked through the approval process without objection. A former military official disclosed the dispute over the planes to The New York Times.

I can see no purpose for allowing one Senator to exercise this much power.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JIM says:

    Yes it is time, but do we really trust this bunch of %&%$&^*&^ to do it?
    Not one sdie or the other but both.