CREW Goes After the ‘Secret Hold’
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is targeting the senatorial practice of the “secret hold,” arguing that the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, passed two years ago, prevents these holds. That’s certainly not the Senate’s view. From CREW:
To determine whether senators have complied with the ban, CREW conducted a day-by-day review of the Senate Calendar of Business dating from the law’s passage in 2007 through today. Over this two-year period, CREW only found two bills that had “a notice of intent to object” placed in the calendar. For the same period, however, CREW discovered several bills and nominations that appeared to have had secret holds placed on them, but for which no corresponding objections were placed in the calendar and no senator publicly announced a hold.
The “secret hold” is one of the most easily understood, least reported-on quirks of the Senate that slows down business. And I’ve yet to meet a senator who defends the process; when I talked about holds with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) last month, he suggested that it would be better if the media covered the circumstances of holds and filibusters.