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Senate confirms several Obama nominees

By Ed O'Keefe

If passing health-care reform was the Senate's Christmas present to President Obama, then the confirmation of more than 30 of his nominees might as well serve as stocking stuffers or a year-end treat.

The Senate confirmed the nominees after voting on health-care reform and a raise in the debt ceiling.

But it also referred six nominees back to the White House for reconsideration, including three senior officials for the Justice Department: Dawn E. Johnsen, nominated to oversee the Office of Legal Counsel; Mary L. Smith, tapped to head the Tax Division; and Christopher H. Schroeder, nominated as assistant attorney general for legal policy.

Among the confirmations were Rajiv Shah to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, Miriam E. Sapiro to serve as deputy U.S. trade representative, Robert Perciasepe to serve as EPA's deputy administrator, Paul Anastas for EPA's assistant administrator, and David Strickland to serve as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (See a full list after the jump.)

Senators also confirmed 10 ambassadorships, several U.S. attorney and U.S. marshals nominees and a few military promotions.

No formal vote was taken, but the six nominees who were "returned to the White House" for reconsideration and possible renomination "ran into opposition," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Several other nominees will have to wait until at least early next year for a confirmation vote. The list includes M. Patricia Smith, Obama's nominee for the number three job at the Labor Department, Rafael Borras to serve as the number three at Homeland Security, and Erroll Southers, to serve as Transportation Security Administration administrator.

Thursday's confirmation votes keep the Obama administration relatively on par with the nomination pace of the Bush and Clinton administrations.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count

Nominees confirmed by the Senate on Thursday:

Paul Anastas, EPA deputy administrator

Robert Perciasepe, EPA assistant administrator

Miriam Sapiro, deputy U.S. trade representative

Rajiv Shah, administrator USAID

John Norris, member, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Adele Alexander, board member of the National Council on Humanities

Lynnae Ruttledge, commissioner of the Department of Education's Rehabilitative Services Administration

Grayling Williams, director of Homeland Security's Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement

David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Michael Khouri, FMC

Scott Quehl, CFO and assistant secretary of Commerce

The nominees rejected by the Senate were:

Dawn E. Johnsen: Assistant Attorney General for Office of Legal Counsel

Mary L. Smith: Assistant Attorney General for Tax Division

Christopher H. Schroeder: Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy

Craig Becker: National Labor Relations Board board member

Edward Chen and Louis Butler, U.S. District Court nominees for California and Wisconsin, respectively, were also returned to the White House.

Ambassadorships confirmed by the Senate on Thursday:

Thomas Shannon, Brazil

Alan Solomont, Spain

Mary Burce Warlick, Serbia

James Warlick, Bulgaria

Eleni Kounalakis, Hungary

Leslie Rowe, Mozambique

Alberto Fernandez, Equatorial Guinea

Mary Joe Willis, Seychelles/Mauritius

Anne Andrew Slaughter, Costa Rica

David Nelson, Uruguay

Federal judges confirmed by the Senate on Thursday:

Dolly Gee, U.S. District Court for Central District of California

Richard Seeborg, U.S. District Court for Northern District of California

Source: Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 24, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Revolving Door  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Christmas Eve Eve personnel moves
Next: Information on federal agency buyouts


I see the party of No is hard at work on their next bit of delay tactics.

Posted by: gilleyrobert | December 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse


Even if it is "on par with the nomination pace of the Bush and Clinton administrations," obstructing and keeping important policy jobs vacant for a full quarter of an administration's tenure is just shameful.

Posted by: eztempo | December 28, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DANSHANTEAL1 | December 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I want to know why is it taking so long to confirm the GSA Administrator? Never in my 30 years of service with this agency has it taken this long. How does an agency suppose to run effectively and efficiently if everyone in charge is only acting. President Obama has been the President for almost a year. This is totally unaccpetable to me!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: gsaemployee | December 28, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Nice Christmas presents for all these people to get these cushy jobs from Obama and his brown-nosing senators who sold their votes to pass the horrible health care disaster. How many of these cushy jobs are being filled by natural born Americans? How many from Chicago? How many are Muslims? What is their pay? These are the things taxpayers would like to know. Also, how many vacations have the Obama's had since he took office 11 months ago? What is the cost to taxpayers for all the Obama trips? Come on Media - if this was Bush in Hawaii again for the 3rd time, it would be all over the headlines. Is Michelle going to get off AirForce One in a pair of wrinkled shorts again to disgrace the Presidency? I want to know how many trips the President and his family have had so far in his term???????? What is the cost to taxpayers????? Is the press hiding these costs?

Posted by: Meeche1 | December 28, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Meecher1, you had better get a life. How many buddies (incapable ones) of Bush were selected? Think Brownie. How many vacations did Bush take? 30%. The right wing is just so upset that a Black man won, they just can't sand it. Patriotism out the window. Hawaii is where Obama lived for most of his early life! Deal with it.

Posted by: taid | December 28, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Recess appointments, especially for TSA.

Posted by: broward1 | December 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Geeze, I wonder where Meeche1 gets all those lemons he sucks on each day. But, I guess after Bush covered himself & America with glory it's a hard act to follow.

"Wrinkled shorts"????? Guess Meeche1 has never been on an airplane or sat down for any length of time.

Posted by: OldArmy1 | December 28, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Meecher1, or should it be MOOCHER ALL,? When Bush went on vacation, it was usually in Texas. Curious George has THREE TO HAWAII, ONE TO THE NATIONAL PARKS, and of course many to Egypt, Europe Copehagen and a few to the FAR EAST. SOME WERE FAKED AS "WORKING" TRIPS. WHAT WAS EVER ACCOMPLISHED, NOTHING.

Posted by: otisplumber | December 29, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

It seems that everything new is old again. Dejavu or need we get a cue is it Clinton in the house or Obama; who is who? Is it change or the same old thing? Clintons people are flowing back hat in hand to take comamnd. Seems that the Clinton's may hold the power and Bidden has the say and and Obama is in play. While the nation has to suffer and the people lose their rights. Yes, sir change has come again we changed the name but the players are all the same. What a shame it was all a sham slight of hand.

Posted by: jamesbrownlord | December 30, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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