Where's Judd Gregg?

The Senate passed its version of the stimulus plan earlier today, 61-37. As expected, three Republicans - Collins, Snowe, and Specter - joined all 58 Democrats in supporting the bill. What I'd like to know is, why didn't Judd Gregg vote?

New Hampshire's senior senator and the President's choice for Commerce Secretary was the only sitting senator to miss the vote. According to last Friday's Boston Globe,

Senator Judd Gregg, the New Hampshire Republican nominated to be commerce secretary, once was seen as a key ally in President Obama's effort to win bipartisan support for his economic stimulus bill. But Gregg's spokeswoman said yesterday that the senator would recuse himself from voting on the bill, and would not even participate in debate on it...

Gregg's spokeswoman, Laena Fallon, would not speak about the senator's decision other than to say, "He thinks this is the most appropriate thing to do right now." A White House spokesman declined comment, deferring to Gregg's office.

I wish Fallon had explained WHY the senator feels this is "the most appropriate thing to do," because I sure can't see it. One assumes, given his remarks at the Commerce announcement, that he supports the plan, and if he doesn't, you have to wonder why the President would invite him onto the national economic team. Dissensions in the inner chamber are great, but on the most basic outline of something this big and this central? That's like putting a foe of universal health care in at HHS. Furthermore, Governor Lynch's pick to replace Gregg, J. Bonnie Newman, is said to be just as moderate as Snowe and Collins, so it's not hard to envision her voting for the bill.

Four Republicans would have been a much better headline for Obama than three. I wish the President had told Gregg that if he wanted the Commerce job, he would either have to vote for the economic recovery plan or immediately resign from the Senate to clear the way for Newman. As a New Hampshire resident and voter, I feel deprived of a voice on the most important bill of the year. How's that for democracy? Thanks, Judd Gregg. You also have to question the decision not to push harder for that fourth Republican vote, especially when it would come at no cost to the President or the substance of the stimulus.

NH State Rep. Marjorie Smith (D) has a letter to the editor in the Concord Monitor saying the same thing: vote or resign.

Cross-posted from The Wayward Episcopalian, my personal blog.

Tags: Barack Obama, Bonnie Newman, Judd Gregg, stimulus (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

Is it possible Obama asked Gregg to avoid the vote in light of GOP game-playing on recent nominations? Considering the hell they've given Hilda Solis over EFCA, you just know they would have used Gregg's dissent from his party caucus as an excuse to put a "hold" on his nomination.

by raginillinoian 2009-02-10 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

Ok, but then he should resign. He's announced he's skipping all votes and debates, and that's not fair to New Hampshire.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-02-10 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

Ahhh, no.  There is a zero percent chance that the GOP is going to block Gregg's appointment.  The guy is a conservative republican -- so they know this is the best pick possible for Commerce.  Moreover, the Senate club doesn't lightly block a fellow Senator.  Heck, that's why even Daschle probably would have been confirmed.  

Sadly, I suspect that not voting is the best the WH could get out of Gregg.  If that's the case, of course, it begs the question -- why nominate the guy.  I still don't fully know the answer to that question, other than the fact that our prospects in NH for 2010 look better with an open seat.  

by HSTruman 2009-02-10 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

Prospects are a lot better with Greg out and perhaps if the right wing unseats Specter, that could be another pickup!

by Boilermaker 2009-02-10 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

 "I wish the President had told Gregg that if he wanted the Commerce job, he would either have to vote for the economic recovery plan or immediately resign from the Senate to clear the way for Newman."

 From everything that I have read, it is Gregg who has been calling the shots.  Gregg is the one who called for a Repug replacement and told Obama he wouldn't vote while being considered.

 What does Obama know about this guy that no one else understands?  Gregg for a Democratic Senator, a win-win for Gregg, who would not have been favored in 2010 for re-election, and now has government work(remember, govt. creates work, not jobs) in the cabinet, and Obama, who could have gotten another Democratic Senator.  Gregg better be the "Houdini" of all Commerce Secretaties for the nothing that Obama got in return for picking him.  Again though, Obama has had a pretty good track record for picking quality people, so for now, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

by barkleyg 2009-02-10 01:25PM | 0 recs
not voting is the same as voting no.

A cloture vote requires 3/5 of the eligible senators and 3/5 of 99 rounds up to 60

If he resigned, then only 59 would be votes needed for cloture until Newman and/or Franken are sworn in.

by mo 2009-02-10 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

I assume the idea behind "recusing" himself is that otherwise the claim would be that he allowed his vote to be purchased in exchange for a Cabinet position.

by Steve M 2009-02-10 02:40PM | 0 recs
Judd Gregg

Just another Republican stinking up the Cabinet.

by antiHyde 2009-02-10 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Judd Gregg

The rank partisanship in the left-blogosphere stinks to high heaven.

Now, I'm a pretty leftie democrat (in fact, barely a democrat) but this really rankles.

by lojasmo 2009-02-10 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Judd Gregg

Oh please, go be holier than thou in some echo chamber. republicans have spent the last 28 years ruining all that was good about the US and turning the country into a plutocracy, including promoting racism and misogyny, diminishing civil rights, attacking the right to choose and religious tolerance, and undermining every American value on the book; and they completely squandered America's wealth with illegal wars and ruining America's reputation with adventurism and imperialism.

Politics is precisely about partisanship. Obama and the fairy chorus of 'can't we all just get along' are ridiculous, and republicans will be sure to prove it to you the very next time they get the chance. Phony bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake buys nothing except less than you could otherwise accomplish.

by gak 2009-02-10 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Judd Gregg

The last democrat who had this many republicans on his cabinet was FDR.

by lojasmo 2009-02-10 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?
I have t9o say while i don't like the move, its prolly a good one.  it avoids claims of conflict of interest.  Obama doesn't look like he's purchased a vote by putting politics ahead of good nominations (before you start ranting this is about perceptions, not truth).  If the new hampshire senator did vote for the stimulus this is exactly what the gop would say, that in order to pass his "reckless spending" bill, Obama bought off a republican with an appointment instead of making a better bill that more senators could support.  If he voted against the bill, it would open up the possibility that the dems would block his nomination and give the gop the opportunity to say the dems are out to punish republicans instead of govern.
I don't recall ppl saying that McCain should have resigned when he missed votes, although i admit he did get a lot of criticism for it.  
And if i have my information correct, the senator promised to only abstain from stimulus votes, one could argue that he might vote on other issues if they were actually up for consideration.
Also, could someone clarify, i thought i read that cloiture requires 3/5 of votes cast(59), not of eligible senators(60)?  maybe my source was ill informed.
Come on guys, there are PLENTY of reasons to complain about republicans but lets be better than our conservative counterparts by sticking to philosophical, intellectual and policy differences, not petty issues of procedure and posturing.
by goodleh 2009-02-10 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

Obama is so barking up the wrong tree dealing with these republicans.

Out one side of his mouth he correctly rejects the "failed" policies of the last 8 years. But the republicans have not renounced any of those policies and continue to obstruct everything Obama wants to do based on those failed policies.

Out the other side of his mouth, Obama wants republicans to sit down with him and support him - that just ain't gonna happen.

The whole thing is stupid and diminishes the opportunity to get done that which needs doing while preventing republicans form mucking everything up with their failed ideology.  

by gak 2009-02-10 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

"republicans have not renounced any of those policies and continue to obstruct everything Obama wants to do based on those failed policies."

Depends on which Republicans you're talking about. Susan Collins is no Tom Coburn, and Olympia Snowe is no Mitch McConnell. Democrats aren't all alike, and neither are Republicans.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-02-10 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

why did obama pick gregg?  because they worked out together in the senate gym.  really.  look it up.  policy played no role in the appointment.  what are obama's internal beliefs?  appointing a conservative rethug because they worked out together at the gym?  and why the hell do senators need a private gym anyway?  the whole thing stinks.

by not a fan 2009-02-11 03:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's Judd Gregg?

What is particularly gratuitous about Gregg's position is that his career in electoral politics is over.  The Republican knee-cappers can't really hurt him anymore.

by Bob H 2009-02-11 03:30AM | 0 recs

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