Republican Obstruction Leaves Key Obama Posts Vacant
September 11, 2010
(ChattahBox US News)–During President Obama’s news conference yesterday, he pointed out that his nominees to fill key administration posts have been beset with unprecedented delays and obstruction by Republicans in the senate. As a result, many agency positions remain unfilled, nearly two-years into Obama’s presidency. And worse, the great majority of the stalled nominees are needed to fill critical economic posts, as our country battles a deep recession. With the partisan divide so toxic, many Republicans are willing to allow the government to barely function, to make things difficult for President Obama, to ensure he fails.
The issue of stalled nominees in the Senate, arose when Obama was questioned about Elizabeth Warren’s chance to receive the nomination for the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The President took the opportunity to point out that even a nomination for “dogcatcher” would blocked by Republicans in the senate at this point.
Besides unfilled economic positions, numerous vacant judgeships are threatening the operation of our judicial system, while our nation’s security is imperiled by unfilled positions in the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s very hard when you’ve got a determined minority in the Senate that insists on a 60-vote filibuster on every single person that we’re trying to confirm.” The senate Republicans are “just playing games,” added Obama.
Delays in the appointment process — lengthened by Congressional brinksmanship and cumbersome vetting — are not new, and some choices have come quickly. On Friday, the president named Austan D. Goolsbee chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, filling a position that had just opened. But the confluence of vacancies in the economic realm comes at a time of regulatory transformation, a slowing economy and a Republican resurgence. (Mr. Goolsbee, who was previously confirmed as a member of the council, did not need a second Senate confirmation to become chairman.)
The prospect of Republicans making strong gains in Congress in November has complicated the appointment calculation, as nearly all of the unfilled jobs require Senate confirmation.
How does Obama’s nominee appointments compare with past presidents?
The Philadelphia Enquirer reports:
A determined Republican stall campaign in the Senate has sidetracked so many of the men and women nominated by President Obama for judgeships that he has put fewer people on the bench than any president since Richard Nixon at a similar point in his first term 40 years ago.
The delaying tactics have proved so successful, despite the Democrats’ substantial Senate majority, that fewer than half of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed and 102 out of 854 judgeships are vacant. Forty-seven of those vacancies have been labeled emergencies by the judiciary because of heavy caseloads.
And with expected Republican gains in the mid-term elections it will only get worse. That elusive “dogcatcher” nominee would remain permanently stalled in the senate.