The Senate Confirms 27 Obama NomineesFebruary 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing
In an surprise turn of events, the GOP last night allowed the Senate to confirm 27 high-level Obama nominees.
The relative flood of confirmations seems to be the product of a Tuesday meeting between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] in which Obama threatened to use recess appointments to fill open government positions if Senate Republicans continued to block his nominees.
Republicans have been blocking Obama’s nominees at a historic pace. Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL] at one point even placed a hold on all the president’s nominees because of a dispute over two pork projects.
The White House released the following statement regarding the confirmations:
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.
By defining the recess appointment as “rare but not unprecedented,” Klien worries the president may have invited extra scrutiny when he finally does use that power. As I explained before Obama is the only president in three decades to not make a recess appointment in his first year in office.
This confirmation fight is far from over as Republicans are still determined to block many pending nominees. For example, Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s nominee to head the department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, remains in nomination limbo. And Sen. Shelby continues to hold up three military nominations.
So when Obama inevitably makes a recess appointment, something President Bush did 171 times and President Clinton did 139 times, the press and the Republicans can now criticize him for taking a “rare but not unprecedented" action.