GOP Filibusters Routine Obama Nomination
All 60 Senate Dems needed to confirm Labor Department solicitor general
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2010 8:44 AM CST
Ellen Austin, left, and Alan Hall, center, of Washington, walk with their 8-month-old puppy Maya in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – It took all 60 Senate Democrats yesterday to break a filibuster over the confirmation of a fairly run-of-the-mill mid-level Obama appointee. New York Labor Commissioner Patricia Smith is hardly a liberal radical—she has support from her state’s Chamber of Commerce, and several New York Republicans in the House—yet every Republican senator who showed up yesterday voted against closing debate on her nomination for Labor Department solicitor general.

Republicans spent their time bemoaning a $6,000 pilot program Smith had run at the urging of a labor union rep—a tiny portion of the $11 billion she manages annually. Democrats were flabbergasted. “They're going to have to decide what they're going to do,” Patty Murray tells the Huffington Post. “Brown will be here shortly and they'll hold the [power] on whether or not we have people in place to make the country work.”