Bloomberg has an update about one of the most astonishing and disgraceful standoffs to have occurred in recent political history. Senate Democrats, with the help of two Republicans, have succeeded, thus far, in blocking the confirmation of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma to be the next administrator of NASA. Since President Trump is not disposed to withdraw Bridenstine’s nomination, both he and the space agency he has been nominated to head are caught in a grotesque limbo. In effect, Scott Pace, the executive director of the National Space Council, along with the acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, is running NASA, an imperfect situation at best.

In the meantime, Bridenstine is reduced to attending meetings of the Space Council only as an observer.

Democrats are standing like a stone wall

A highly placed source, close to the impasse, has reported that the Senate Democratic leadership is whipping its caucus hard to not vote for Bridenstine’s nomination. That means all 49 Senate Democrats are, thus far, standing fast. However, two Democratic moderates, Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama and Sen. Jim Manchin of West Virginia, are being lobbied, by a number of interested parties, to change their position and vote to confirm Bridenstine.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is the driving force in the effort to block the Oklahoma congressman. While he claims to be concerned about Bridenstine’s status as a conservative politician and his qualifications, Nelson’s real reasons for opposing him are less than savory.

First, the Florida senator is in a tough reelection fight and finds that making the Republican congressman a right-wing boogieman to be useful. Second, Nelson is sending a signal to the Trump administration that nothing can happen at NASA without his permission. With decisions being made about everything from the return to the moon to the ultimate fate of the International Space Station, the senator from Florida finds blocking Bridenstine an especially useful gambit.

What about Marco Rubio and John McCain?

Sen John McCain, R-Arizona, has been obliged to curtail his senatorial duties because he is battling brain cancer. In any case, he holds a personal grudge against Bridenstine because of the Oklahoma congressman’s support of a primary opponent during his last reelection.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida also holds a personal animus toward Bridenstine due to a commercial the congressman cut in support of Sen.

Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the last presidential election. Bridenstine accused Rubio of being soft on immigration and terrorism. Ironically, Donald Trump beat both elected politicians to become president of the United States. However, many expect Rubio to come around eventually and support Bridenstine.

Enough is enough

The bottom line is that the Senate is only casting disrepute on itself by continuing to be in gridlock over the Bridenstine nomination. A single senator is needed to switch sides and vote in favor of confirmation and allow NASA to get back to the task of leading the United States back to the moon, Mars, and beyond.