In a move that seemed to sour recent cooperation between Democratic and Republican representatives, the Democrats caused the postponement of final voting on the nomination of John Bolton for U.N. Ambassador.
Before they are willing to give an up or down vote, Senate Democrats demanded more information about Bolton while contending that Bush had stiff-armed the Senate about classified information on Bolton’s tenure, who is currently the State Department’s arms control chief.
The final Bolton vote now will not take place until at least June, after the Memorial Day recess. Today’s vote of 56-42 was just four votes shy of the 60 votes needed to move for an immediate final vote on Bolton’s confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was hoping that today’s vote would end nearly three months of delays and investigation. However, the vote now raises questions on President Bush’s ability to win confirmation of his more ideological appointees.
“John Bolton,” Frist said, “…certainly sounds like a filibuster. It quacks like a filibuster.”
However, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware said that Democrats do not want to put off an up-or-down vote indefinately.
“We are willing to vote 10 minutes after we get back in session, if in fact they provide the information,” Biden said.
Today’s dramatic roll call demonstrated that most senators still seem to enjoy a bit of partisan confrontation, despite the recent compromise forged just days ago in a bitter dispute over judicial nominees. Frist said that the Bolton issue had soured the air of cooperation.