White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest complained Monday about the hold a senator has placed on the nomination of the first openly gay Army secretary, Eric Fanning.
Earnest said the reason GOP Sen. [crscore]Pat Roberts[/crscore] placed the hold on the nomination process is because he “relishes the opportunity to be before the camera,” the Washington Blade reports.
“Obviously, there is no questioning Mr. Fanning’s commitment to serving this country,” Earnest said. “He is someone of unquestioned integrity and expertise when it comes to the critical functions of the United States Army. And he is a nominee who deserves bipartisan confirmation by the United States Senate, and he’s been held up for too long. And it’s unfortunate that his nomination and his career in service to this country has been ensnared in political arguments made by one particular senator.”
Roberts’ hold is the reason why Fanning’s nomination cannot go to a full vote in the Senate.
The GOP senator has put a stop to the nomination in protest of the Obama administration’s attempts to ignore congressional concerns and close Guantanamo Bay in whichever way possible.
GOP Sen. [crscore]John McCain[/crscore], chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, has repeatedly urged Roberts to drop the hold to no effect. McCain had also taken issue with the nomination, but for a different reason — Fanning at one point had been serving as acting Army secretary, which sidestepped the Senate’s say on the matter.
McCain said this was a complete violation of the Vacancies Act, prompting Fanning to step down and await the results of the nomination process.
McCain also added he wants a final decision on whether the Senate will just hold Fanning in limbo forever, or finally put him to a vote.
Matthew Thorn, executive director of the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN, told the Washington Blade the White House should ramp up its pressure on Roberts to see the nomination go through before President Barack Obama leaves office.
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