An open letter to President Obama (Part 22 of my response to State of Union Speech 1-24-12)

Rep Michael Burgess response

Uploaded by  on Jan 25, 2012

This week Dr. Burgess provides an update from Washington and responds to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

President Obama’s state of the union speech Jan 24, 2012

Barack Obama  (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

President Obama c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

Was Obama Even Paying Attention during His Time in the Senate?

Posted by Mark A. Calabria

Perhaps I’m a little sensitive from having spent 7 years working in the Senate (rather than just using the Senate as a stepping stone), but when Obama makes statements in his State of the Union like:

Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything – even routine business – passed through the Senate. Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.

I have to wonder if he even has the slightest clue what he is talking about.  First, what’s with the “no longer”, the fact is that the Senate has operated under super-majority rules since before Obama was born.  The vast majority of bills and nominations pass by unanimous consent, meaning that 100 votes are needed.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, 95% of the nominations sent to the Senate in 2011 were confirmed.

And the rules aren’t to blame for “routine business” not getting done.  It’s been over 1000 days since Senate Democrats passed a budget, but then you have to assemble one to pass one.  In 2011 the Senate passed over 400 pieces of legislation, only about 20% below the average of the last 20 years.  As someone who’d like to see government come to a halt, let me assure you, this isn’t it.

Setting aside the offensive nature of a President suggesting changes in the Senate rules (ever hear of the separation of powers?) the fact is that his proposal wouldn’t have matter in the case of his recent “recess” nominations.  First, Cordray was given a vote, with a required 60 for moving to consideration.  He didn’t get 60.  There’s nothing in the Constitution that defines Senate “consent” as a simple majority.  Obama’s unconstitutional NRLB nominations weren’t even in the Senate for 90 days (his apparent standard).

Our founding fathers purposely created a system that made it hard, not easy, to legislate.  The very existence of both a House and Senate is evidence they rejected simple majority rules for legislating.  One of the many things I learned from working in the Senate, and having spent more time on the Senate floor than Obama, is that dealing in good faith can almost always get you to an broad agreement.  If Obama feels his legislative agenda has come to a halt, he has himself to blame, not the Senate rules.

It appears that you are ignoring the Constitution according the article above.

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your committment as a father and a husband.


Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733,

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