Why? (Besides the obvious.)

Secretary General Addresses U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Jim Risch, United States Senator from Idaho. March 24, 2021. (photo: OEA — OAS)

As Americans indulge in the modern holiday bloodsport of Black Friday shopping, and recover from the excesses of two Thanksgivings rolled into one, President Joe Biden’s approval rating continues to plummet under the advancing weight of inflation, higher fuel prices and a supply line slowdown.

These polling troubles could be happening merely because, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently suggested, the U.S. press corp is doing a terrible job selling Democratic legislative packages to the American people, telling them only the cost and none of the benefits.

Or it could be for other reasons.

Complicated outcomes, like a falling presidential approval rating, are seldom the result of only one cause. Many factors have contributed to the perceived shortcomings of the Biden Administration, real and imagined.

COVID-19 has certainly played a central role in the malaise of the electorate this year. After 18 solid months of stimulus packages, spending, COVID-19 relief efforts and a truly miraculous delivery of vaccines in record time, Americans still expect more from their government.

As right they should.

President Biden’s Administration could be doing more for the American people…if certain obstructionist Republicans weren’t standing in the way.

What the press isn’t telling the American people about the Biden agenda, is that President Biden’s Administration is being ham-stringed by Senate Republicans determined to block, slow-walk or stonewall nearly every single Biden nominee with whom they are presented.

Some Senate Republicans, chiefly GOP Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) have been perfectly forthright about the fact that most of this obstructionist maneuvering is politically motivated.

“I have been a critic of this since I started on the Foreign Relations Committee,” Risch was reported to complain at a recent forum. “I was a governor. I understand you have to have a team in place in order to govern.”

“This is a political matter,” Risch admitted.

A political matter it may be, and one political party obstructing the other in an attempt to stymie policies they don’t agree with may be business-as-usual in Washington, but Senate Republicans have not been consistent in preventing Biden nominees from moving smoothly through the confirmation process.

Far from it.

Risch, who happens to be the ranking Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee was complaining in particular about the bottleneck of Biden nominees waiting to be confirmed for diplomatic posts and ambassadorships.

Meanwhile, Sen. Risch himself has been actively blocking a Biden nominee for highly questionable reasons of his own.

Successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dilawar Syed has been waiting since March to get a fair hearing on his nomination to be deputy administrator for the Small Business Administration. Except Mr. Syed hasn’t yet received a fair hearing or anything like it.

There hasn’t even been a vote. Rather than voting, and thereby allowing the process to move forward, Senate Republicans have chosen instead to absent themselves totally from the proceeding on five separate occasions now, stopping the confirmation process dead in its tracks and leaving the SBA without a deputy administrator.

Not only has Sen. Risch been responsible for blocking Mr. Syed, Risch and his staff were behind the worst smear Dilawar Syed has had to endure to date during his confirmation “process”.

The whisper-campaign to malign Mr. Syed as someone with an anti-Israel bias who couldn’t be trusted to deal fairly with Jewish-owned small businesses failed spectacularly amid an immediate outcry from the Jewish community.

Dilawar Syed happens to be a Muslim-American who would, if confirmed, become the highest-ranking American Muslim in the Biden Administration, and indeed in history. This minority religious affiliation is perhaps what drove Risch to lob such an insulting smear campaign in the first place. Combined with insinuations that Mr. Syed’s birthplace of Pakistan should disqualify him, this line of attack was and is hard to defend against accusations of discrimination.

Why is Dilawar Syed being singled-out on one hand by Sen. Risch, while Risch with the other hand condemns Republicans stalling Biden nominees?

Whatever his long experience in Washington, however meticulously crafted and compassionate the Biden Administration’s agenda, President Joe Biden simply cannot accomplish his plans alone.

Risch said so himself: It takes a team to govern a state. It takes an ever bigger team to govern a nation of over 330 million people successfully through a pandemic and an economic recovery.

Without a full team, preferably with the best possible people on it, one hand of Biden’s administration is tied behind its back. Unless Republican Senators get on board, and soon, the U.S. economic recovery, including the prospects for beleaguered U.S. small businesses, will continue to be imperiled.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)