Over the next few weeks, a great deal of news coverage will center around President Joe Biden’s Senate nominations. They will doubtless result in at least a few bitter confirmation battles in the U.S. Senate. As in the last administration, many nominees are friends of mine and others at R Street.

While I personally believe that all Senate nomination processes should be more-or-less apolitical—senators should vet nominees for competence, morals and honesty rather than policy views—that is not the way things work. Over the past 30 or so years, nearly all Senate nominations for important jobs have become quite political in nature. Often, the efforts to get people confirmed (or not) become every bit as nasty as the most bare-knuckled political campaigns.

As an organization that stays out of politics, R Street is simply not going to take a position on any nominations before the Senate. We never have in the past, and we’re not going to change that policy now with a new administration. This means we won’t sign letters or join coalitions opposing or supporting any nominee nor will we take an institutional position as to whether or not someone should come up for a vote. While taking a stand on a nomination may technically be within the law and our tax status as a 501c(3), the highly political nature of the process makes it inappropriate for us to take part as an organization.

That said, the staff of R Street are citizens and are entitled to express their own views. You’ll see people from R Street offering commentary on the mechanics and dynamics of the nomination process as well as the policy positions of nominees. But anyone who weighs in for or against a nominee is doing so for themselves alone, not for us as an organization.

Image credit:  vasilis asvestas

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