Senate confirms 27 nominees after Obama threatens recess appointments
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
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