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Senate confirms 27 nominees after Obama threatens recess appointments

By Ed O'Keefe

The Senate confirmed 27 executive branch nominees Thursday after President Obama threatened earlier in the week to use recess appointments for some of the long-stalled picks.

"At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House Thursday evening. "In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process."

Obama said he told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday that he would make recess appointments if Republican senators did not lift holds.

"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," Obama said.

Senators confirmed three deputies for Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner: Marisa Lago and Mary John Miller to serve as assistant secretaries and Charles Collyns to serve as a deputy undersecretary.

Caryn A. Wagner also won confirmation to serve as Homeland Security undersecretary for intelligence and analysis -- after Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) lifted a hold on her from earlier this week. Patrick A. Corvington was cleared to serve as head of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an agency of special concern to President and Mrs. Obama and their focus on volunteerism.

Senators also confirmed several assistant, deputy and undersecretaries at the departments of Defense, Justice, Labor and Veterans Affairs and Ronald C. Machen, Jr. to serve as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

But senators did not confirm three Pentagon nominees that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) placed holds on earlier this week. Congressional aides said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is also holding up the confirmation of a State Department nominee to serve as a representative to a conference on disarmament.

"While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess," Obama said in the statement. "If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future."

Staff writer Scott Wilson contributed to this report

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 11, 2010; 9:36 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Revolving Door  
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Now that Bush is gone, what's wrong with recess appointments?

Posted by: member8 | February 11, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I like that Mitch McConnell who was for up and down votes on appointees during the Bush administrations, and who was supportive of Bush's recess appointments,
is against the same practice now that a Dem is in the oval office.

More GOP hypocrisy.

Posted by: quietman1 | February 11, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Lets see, Senate finally acts on less than half of Obama's appointees and he goes back on his threat to make a recess appointment? Is there something or someone he's prepared to stand up for? Former Democrats should remember how gutless Obama has been about pursuing his agenda when the next election rolls around. Why vote, when you get this lack of commitment?

Posted by: paulnolan97 | February 11, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Simply put...Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky blue grass turd.

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

Pres. Obama should appoint, appoint, appoint until the Republicans find that he is serious about his threats. Besided most of the public doesn't care or know about recess appointments.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 11, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Okay - it's late and my spelling sucks :).

Pres. Obama should appoint, appoint, appoint until the Republicans find that he is serious about his threats. Besides most of the public doesn't care or know about recess appointments.

2nd time a charm;)

Posted by: rlj1 | February 11, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Tell 'em Barack. Those pusilanimous pussyfooters.

There should be fewer officials to confirm. It is ridiculous to have to confirm someone to represent us at a conference - it isn't as if he will sign any treaties.

Posted by: Lioness1 | February 12, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

It is quite possible that the public does not know or care about recess appointments, but they have a severe disadvantage- every recess appointment expires at the end of the congress which is next December.

Posted by: philogratis | February 12, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a lot like Google, He gets what he wants.


Posted by: clermontpc | February 12, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Thank You Pres O.

It's time to KICK AS and move the DEMOCRAT agenda

Posted by: K2007 | February 12, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it sad that threats have to be made to get anything accomplished? President Obama needs to expose and continue to expose those playing their political games, putting personal gains and party over getting our country back on it's feet.
The republican party is on it's way to becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists.

Posted by: kathlenec | February 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I love it! Pres Obama should make that National Labor Relations Board appointment too during recess. All the post offices which will be closed due to the union busting antics of the Republicans under Bush, should be in Republican districts and most absolutely, in the state of SC (Jim Demint).

Posted by: pkbishop1 | February 12, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Republicans have been very clear since the beginning of the President's term that they were NOT going to accept his election.
They vowed to make him fail. Accordingly, they have obstructed every single thing they could at every opportunity.
I truly hope that after the recess and the Republicans resume their strategy of bringing the functioning of our government to a halt the President will exercise his prerogative to make recess appointments and that he will not bother with another threat.
Just do it.

Posted by: cms1 | February 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What's with Obama and the Democrats??? What part of "we will make you fail" do they not understand?? The Re THUG LIE CONS have stone-walled everything Obama and the Dems have tried to do - even stuff that is simply a continuation of BushCo policies like the bank bailout. Or, in that case, they supported the bailout and then turned around and called Obama a "socialist". Obama has bent over backwards (or forwards, depending on your metaphor) to please the Re THUG LIE CONS from appointing three of them to cabinet posts, not pursuing any of the many criminal cases possible against the Bush/Cheney torturers and criminals, leaving in place U.S. Attorneys appointed by Bush under an unprecendented system of document-ably partisan appointment scheme, milktoast but competent appointments to almost every position that are STILL filibustered, etc. etc. Whatever Obama does or doesn't do is going to be greeted with hair-on-fire hysteria.

It's time to fight fire with fire. Take these creeps down in any and every way possible; recess appointments, abolish the filibuster (which they were preparing to do), whatever it takes. Attack, attack, attack. Get over this "bi-partisan" delusion. "Bi-partisan" to the Re THUG LIE CONS means doing it their way. They want to kill you. Time to play hardball. Oh, wait, these are the "battered-wife" Democrats. Never mind.

Posted by: Johnbo | February 12, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

ahhhhhh Dems!
How those unions working out for ya! Bet you love the fact the SEIU touts their illegal immigrant membership. Won't be long now till your unions bankrupt the Federal Gov as you have just about every company you have organized. But keep those demands coming and threats of strikes. LOL
6 union workers needed to do the work of 1 or 2. LOL

Posted by: usmc1969 | February 12, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

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