Obama Backs Away from Recess Appointments . . . For Now
by Charles Lemos, Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 09:49:36 PM EST
The White House released a short statement from the President late on Thursday following action by the Senate to confirm — by unanimous consent — twenty-seven executive nominees before leaving for the President's Day recess.
Today, the United States Senate confirmed 27 of my high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months.
At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination. In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process.
Instead, many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator’s state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people.
And so on Tuesday, I told Senator McConnell that if Republican senators did not release these holds, I would exercise my authority to fill critically-needed positions in the federal government temporarily through the use of recess appointments. This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate.
While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.
The 27 confirmed today form part of the over 60 executive nominations that had been placed on hold by one of more Senators. Earlier this week, Republicans blocked the confirmation of Craig Becker, a labor lawyer, to a seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has been operating with only two of its five members for a few years.
The White House statement seems to signal that the President will not use a recess appointment to appoint Craig Becker to the NLRB. The President did reserve his right to use his recess appointment authority in the future if the Senate does act on his nominees.
The list of the confirmed nominees is below the fold.
Those confirmed include:
Ketanji Brown Jackson, of Maryland, to be a member of the United States Sentencing Commission; Susan B. Carbon, of New Hampshire, to be director of the Violence Against Women Office; Betty King to be Ambassador, International Organization, the United Nations; Caryn Wagner to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security; Sara Manzano-Diaz, of Pennsylvania, to be director of the Women’s Bureau; Patrick Corvington, chief of the Corporation for National and Community Service; Robert A. Petzel, of Minnesota, to be under-secretary for health of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Nicole Yvette Lamb-Hale, of Michigan, assistant secretary of Commerce; Marisa Lago, of New York, assistant Treasury secretary; Ellen Gloninger Murray, of Virginia, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services; Bryan Hayes Samuels, of Illinois, commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families, Health and Human Services.; Charles Collyns, of Maryland, deputy under-secretary at Treasury; Mary John Miller, of Maryland, assistant secretary at Treasury; André Birotte Jr., of California, to be United States Attorney for the Central District of California; Richard S. Hartunian, of New York, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York; Ronald C. Machen Jr., of the District of Columbia, to be United States Attorney for the District of Columbia; Mary Sally Matiella, of Arizona, assistant secretary of the Army; Douglas B. Wilson, of Arizona, an assistant secretary of Defense; Irvin M. Mayfield, Jr., of Louisiana, member of the National Council on the Arts; Cynthia L. Attwood, of Virginia, member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission; Sharon Y. Bowen, of New York, director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation; Orlan Johnson, of Maryland, director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation; Douglas A. Criscitello, of Virginia, chief financial officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Theodore W. Tozer, of Ohio, president, Government National Mortgage Association; David W. Mills, of Virginia, assistant secretary of Commerce; Suresh Kumar, of New Jersey, assistant secretary of Commerce and director general of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service; Kevin Wolf, of Virginia, assistant secretary of Commerce.