Obama Battles GOP Obstructionism: Makes Six Recess Appointments
December 30, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)— With hundreds of administrative and judicial nominees stalled in the Senate for months due to unprecedented Republican obstructionism, President Obama used his executive powers during the legislative break to make six recess appointments to fill vacancies in the Department of Justice and the State Department. This hardly makes a dent in the 79 nominees needed to run the government, who have been languishing in the Senate for months. The obstructionism of judicial nominees is so severe that it has caused a crisis in our federal courts. Really, just six recess appointments in the face of such legislative dysfunction is not much, but Republicans will whine and complain regardless.
The recess appointments were announced without fanfare via a White House press release.
“President Obama announced today his intent to recess appoint six nominees to fill key administration posts that have been left vacant for an extended period of time.”
The most important appointment, most needed and perhaps most controversial, is that of James M. Cole, the nominee for Deputy Attorney General. Cole’s nomination sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Republicans have been blocking an up-or-down vote on his nomination since July. The GOP has attacked Cole for comments he made that were critical of Bush/Cheney’s post-9/11 War on Terror.
“Mr. Obama’s action brings his recess appointees to 28; former President George W. Bush had made 23 recess appointments by this time in his presidency. Administration officials said the six nominees have been waiting an average of 114 days in the Senate. Another 73 candidates for politically appointed jobs, many of them judges, were awaiting confirmation when the Senate adjourned; Mr. Obama will have to renominate them if he wants them to serve.”
“Mr. Obama’s action will allow Mr. Cole and the other nominees — four ambassadors, as well as the official who runs the Government Printing Office — to serve for one year. The deputy White House chief of staff, Jim Messina, defended the move, saying Mr. Obama felt he had no choice, especially in Mr. Cole’s case.”
Besides Cole, Obama appointed William J. Boarman, nominee for Public Printer, Matthew J. Bryza, nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Norman L. Eisen, nominee for Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Robert Stephen Ford, nominee for Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic and Francis J. Ricciardone, Jr., nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey.
The ambassadorship to Syria has been left vacant since 2005, because Republicans objected to formal relations with Syria.
Photo Source: Official White House photo by Pete Souza