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Obama considers recess appointments

By Scott Wilson
President Obama said Tuesday that he will consider putting some of his nominees in essential jobs without Senate confirmation if Republicans do not end delaying tactics that have held up dozens of his appointments.

In his unannounced appearance before the White House press corps after meeting with Republican Congressional leaders, Obama said he would "consider making several recess appointments" because "we can't allow politics to stand in the way of a well-functioning government."

Obama made his comments a day after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced that he was backing away from the controversial "holds" he had placed on more than 70 Obama nominees, including some for positions in national security agencies.

Shelby placed the holds last week in an attempt to win funding for two programs for his state - an Air Force tanker project and a counter-terrorism center. His office said in a statement that he was releasing "all but a few" of the holds because he had succeeded in "getting the White House attention on two issues that are critical to our national security."

Obama, who has made the need for bipartisanship a key rhetorical point this midterm election year, sharply criticized the holds Tuesday without naming Shelby specifically. "In our meeting, I asked the congressional leadership to put a stop to these holds in which nominees for critical jobs are denied a vote for months," Obama said. "Surely we can set aside partisanship and do what's traditionally been done to confirm these nominees."

Research provided by the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shows that Obama nominees have waited longer for confirmation than Bush administration nominees in the first year. But Congressional Democrats, including Obama when he was a senator, have moved to hold up Republican nominees in the past.

In 2005, President George W. Bush used a recess appointment to make John R. Bolton the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations after a five-month delay. Democrats opposed the nomination because they believed Bolton was too conservative for the post.

The Senate must confirm a recess appointment before the end of its term or the position becomes vacant again. Obama did not say whom he might appoint that way, but those awaiting national security posts will likely be first in line.

By Scott Wilson  |  February 9, 2010; 4:49 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama  
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Next: Despite gestures, bipartisanship remains elusive


One more thought: I was all for Bush going with the recess appointments, and I am all for Obama doing same. The amount of time spent waiting to get some of these jobs filled is absolutely not a help to any segment of our society.

Posted by: olmamma | February 10, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I understand that no matter which party is in the White House the approval process for many of these necessary, but sometimes not high-profile jobs, is causing an increasingly larger back-log of work. The result is that important day to day duties of governing don't get done. Some who posted on this article said we needed a revolt against one political party or the other. I think citizens of both persuasions need to make it clear to elected officials that we elect them to make our world a better place. We don't elect them to get re-elected.

Posted by: olmamma | February 10, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Let us not forget, as VerumSerum rightly points out, that then Senator Barack Obama referred to John Bolton as "damaged goods".

I'm sure you left that out, right WaPo?

Posted by: VibrioCocci | February 10, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Tell it like it really is. Obama's nominees have waited longer than Bush's because Obama's Democrat-controlled Congress focused obsessively on health care and left other business undone. Until the Massachusetts special election, Democrats could have confirmed all of Obama's nominees without a single Republican vote.

Posted by: Buffal0Bill | February 10, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

For your information, Scott Wilson, President Obama's quest to attain bipartisanship in governing America has been a continuing effort on his part since he took office a year ago. Your opinion that it is mid-term election rhetoric is simply not true.

Not providing the statistics for holds on both Republican and Democratic nominations is simply lazy journalism.

Posted by: BooJa | February 10, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs to stop thumbing his nose at the American people.

This country belongs to the people, not Obama and his progressive friends.

Posted by: prossers7 | February 9, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President, do whatever you have to do to get the government working and move our country alone.

Don't forget you are dealing with Boehner and McConnell who have great citizen paid health care. They could give a Sarah Palin's rear end for the 44 million that don't have health care and suffer.

Yes, America needs a revolution and the target is the Republican Party.

Posted by: COWENS99 | February 9, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

This partisan politics can not serve the nation as George Washington had predicted. We, the People, ought to fix this dysfunctional system. We can't afford to see our nation in gridlock all the time. No matter which party wins, it's the whole nation at loss.

Posted by: dummy4peace | February 9, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Good -- stop messing around with these POS Repukes.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 9, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mr. President do it. Enough of this Republican BS on holding up appointments. By pass them on every one of your appointees.

Posted by: skyjumperdave | February 9, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mr. President do it. Enough of this Republican BS on holding up appointments. By pass them on every one of your appointees.

Posted by: skyjumperdave | February 9, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

what part does obama not understand about a lot of his appiontments.fruits ,nuts ,flacks radiclas and care was not the only issues the voter in the last 3 elections had with obama.his choices for appiontments were supposed to be the brightest and best not who was the queerest or hated america rthe most.

Posted by: dagner49 | February 9, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

What does Obama expect when he appoints his campaign workers, campaign funders and/or unqualified individuals into government positions?

Posted by: Cantabrigian | February 9, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Right on with this story, it touches on the suspicions that exists out there, but us republicans and conservatives have to rethink our strategy when it comes to health care. Take a look at this article I read that spoke about American history and why the health bill is more constitutional than we think. I can say as an avid conservative republican, I was forced to challenge my views, take a look, challenge yours too:

I changed my mind

Posted by: republicanblack | February 9, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

When is Obama going to get it? You can't play nice with the Retardlicans; they see an extended hand as a sign of weakness. He needs to show them the back of his hand, as they didn't hesitate to do to the other side during their years in power. Too bad we got Barack Obama when what we needed was a Harold Washington.

Posted by: hairguy01 | February 9, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama needs to stop playing nice. Every Administration has appointments that are not voted on or held up but it seems that this has gotten out of hand. Republicans lost and think they still can control but need to be shown how the game works when you don't play fair.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 9, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

good ole recess appointments.

a chick sht's way to put someone one in office when they wouldn't normally be able to pass acceptance.

i'm wondering why did Mr Teleprompter tell barama to consider these? well, i guess in fairness it *wasn't* Mr teleprompter...

maybe god called barama on his blue plastic fisher price phone he keeps under his bed.

you know.. barma and god are pretty tight.

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | February 9, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

instead of up or down votes as the Republicans were demanding during the Bush Adminsitration now they wantto filibuster every nominee so recess appointments are going to be forced well Repubs want to be obstructionists when they get back in power I don't want to hear them squealing when the Democratic party does it to them

Posted by: mikey30919 | February 9, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Bush did the same when Democrats wouldn't play ball with his nominees. It's a standard practice nowadays.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 9, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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