As noted earlier, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is alleging — backed up by pretty credible evidence — that Obama's nominee for Solicitor of Labor, Patricia Smith, lied to the Senate about some controversial dealings with unions. Enzi wants her name withdrawn. With a cloture vote on her nomination likely to happen this afternoon, Enzi just delivered a blistering floor speech condemning Smith that concludes as follows:
It’s clear that Ms. Smith’s testimony and responses to follow-up questions are repeatedly contradicted by documents I received from the State of New York. It is particularly troubling that the inconsistent statements to the Committee were in each instance an attempt to downplay the concerns about the Wage and Hour Watch program raised by Republican members. At best, the inconsistencies in her testimony lead me to question her ability to interact with Congress in a candid manner and manage the enforcement of labor laws by the Office of Solicitor in an even-handed and fair manner.
I have tried for months to resolve these concerns. In August, I asked President Obama to withdraw Ms. Smith’s nomination, and offered my assistance in ensuring a replacement would be confirmed quickly. I also joined all of my nine Republican colleagues on the HELP Committee in urging Chairman Harkin to refrain from approving this nominee in Committee and made the same offer to him of assistance in ensuring a qualified replacement is given a swift review and confirmation.
Because the President and the majority did not consider it a problem that Ms. Smith provided factually inconsistent information to the Senate, I am forced to insist on a full debate on her nomination.
Giving my consent to a Presidential nominee isn’t something I take lightly, and even with the benefit of the doubt I have always given to the candidates sent over to us by the White House. However, the integrity of the Senate committee process and the responsibility of advice and consent demands honest and accurate testimony from the witnesses that come before us.
For these reasons, I have lost confidence in Ms. Smith’s ability to manage the Solicitor’s office. I urge my colleagues to oppose this nomination and ask unanimous consent that the documents referenced in my speech be included in the record. I yield the floor.
The question is now where is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell? Given the evidence that Enzi has marshaled here, shouldn't the Republican leadership back him up in his attempt to block Smith's nomination? I've called McConnell's office twice today to get a statement on Smith's nomination and so far they have offered no response.