November 18, 2012

Washington Notebook: Maine delegation weighs in on Benghazi investigation

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

In a letter sent Friday to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Michaud asked for information on how the departments plan to address the loss of the records and steps being put in place to ensure proper record-keeping.

"Our service members and veterans depend on your agencies and Congress to protect them in battle and to care for them at home," wrote Michaud, a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "We cannot allow these lost records to lead to the same gaps in knowledge and care that our Vietnam veterans face with Agent Orange and our First Gulf War veterans face with medically unexplained illnesses."

JUDGESHIP STUCK IN LIMBO

Now that the presidential race is over, Maine's two senators are urging Senate leaders to take up a Maine federal judicial nomination that has been stalled for months due to election-year politics.

Senate Republicans have blocked votes on Circuit Court judgeships since the summer under a decades-old "rule" that has been employed by both parties when they were in the minority. The theory behind the so-called "Thurmond Rule" is that if the party's presidential nominee wins the White House, the new president would likely nominate a different person for the post.

Cape Elizabeth lawyer William Kayatta, who was nominated for the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, is one of the individuals stuck in political limbo.

Snowe and Collins -- both Republicans -- had bucked their party leadership and voted in July to move forward with Circuit Court nominations. Last week, the pair called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to take up the judicial nominees.

"The First Circuit bench is small -- it has only six active judges -- so any single vacancy hits it disproportionately hard," Collins wrote in a letter to Reid and McConnell.

"In short, there is simply no good reason for his nomination to remain on the Executive Calendar when the Senate could easily and quickly confirm him to fill a vacancy on the nation's smallest circuit court of appeals," Snowe wrote in a separate letter.

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

 

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