Victims of a bipartisan strife

“Bipartisanship” has become a fairy tale in Washington. Because of partisan bickering, people mistrust Congress and our country has ended up with a dysfunctional Senate confirmation process.

The victim this time is labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez, the only Latino President Obama has named to his cabinet this term. His Senate confirmation hearing was pushed back this week because Republicans want to question his involvement in a whistle-blower case. Some Republicans are threatening to filibuster his nomination.

It’s yet another delay tactic against an Obama nominee who has a stellar record on equity and the well being of people.

As the former secretary of Maryland’s department of labor, Perez defended the rights of workers against abusive companies. During the Clinton Administration, he served as the attorney general for civil rights under Janet Reno. He also led the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to this, Perez advised the legendary Senator Edward Kennedy on criminal justice and constitutional issues.

In trying to block his nomination, Republicans would only wound themselves. An attack on Perez’s career would be one more blot on the image of a party that is more focused on its political agenda than on an exemplary, accomplished and qualified nominee.

This routine of blocking the nomination process by threatening filibusters will only create a culture of delaying progress—a disservice to the public. The only thing that should matter is whether a nominee will serve the nation and the president with integrity. Thomas Perez has done that throughout his career and no amount of questioning can take that away from him.