Maine's two senators have offered to cross party lines to help end a baffling Senate practice which deserves to go the way of the spittoon and smoke-filled back room — the secret hold.
Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have, along with 63 colleagues, signed a petition to ban the practice, which allows a single senator to secretly stall appointments and legislation.
This issue came to a head earlier this year when it was revealed that Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, was secretly holding up 70 Obama administration appointees because a company in his state was denied a military contract.
The appointees in question had already received support — sometimes overwhelming bipartisan support — from Senate committees.
Yet, they had been delayed 90 days or longer to satisfy one angry senator.
The original intent of the hold was to allow a senator to slow things down until he or she had time to read the legislation or do more research.
That's a worthy goal, but senators can do the same thing and still attach their name to the hold.
The secret hold is simply undemocratic and an open invitation to abuse.