Thursday, May 19, 2005

Don't Forget Bolton

As the Senate debates the nuclear option, the nomination of John Bolton to be United Nations ambassador looms on the Senate's horizon, waiting for its moment in the spotlight. While the White House had pushed for Bolton's nomination to be dealt with first, Senator Frist opted to take up the nuclear option, leaving Bolton until the middle or end of next week (he still says that a vote will be taken on the confirmation prior to the Memorial Day recess).

On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee formally sent the nomination to the full Senate; as Carl Hulse reports in Thursday's New York Times, committee Republicans "submitted only an eight-page brief that described him as 'a highly qualified nominee' who had not sought to manipulate intelligence, despite the claims of his critics." Democrats, on the other hand, offered a 64-page blast against Mr. Bolton, accusing him of misleading the Foreign Relations Committee and outlining the various other charges that have been lodged against the nominee. Steve Clemons at The Washington Note offers up the entire Democratic report [PDF] as well as some analysis.

While the timing of the debate and vote on Bolton is uncertain, Bloomberg reported Thursday that the vote count appears positive for the White House at this time: so far the only Republican to break ranks is Ohio's George Voinovich, and aides to Democrats Mark Pryor, Joe Lieberman, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson told Bloomberg their bosses were considering voting to approve Bolton.

Also unclear is whether Democrats will pursue a filibuster against Bolton's nomination, although I would guess that such a move is highly unlikely.


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