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Obama makes four recess appointments

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 5:10 p.m. ET
President Obama made four recess appointments Thursday for nominees that have waited an average of 303 days for confirmation, the White House said.

“At a time when our nation faces so many pressing challenges, I urge members of the Senate to stop playing politics with our highly qualified nominees, and fulfill their responsibilities of advice and consent,” President Obama said in a statement announcing the appointments. “Until they do, I reserve the right to act within my authority to do what is best for the American people.”

Obama has made a total of 22 recess appointments, including the four announced Thursday. George W. Bush made 23 recess appointments by the end of his second year in office and Clinton made a total of 139 recess appointments during his presidency, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The appointment likely to draw Republican ire is that of Maria del Carmen Aponte, the administration's pick for ambassador to El Salvador.

Aponte faced questions at her March confirmation hearing about a former romantic relationship with a Cuban national she lived with in the 1980s who was tied to Cuban intelligence officials. She denied any contact with Cuban intelligence and admitted meeting socially with Cuban officials.

Senate Republicans, led by Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), placed a hold on her nomination in pursuit of additional information about Aponte's background and her decision to withdraw a similar nomination during Bill Clinton's presidency.

"The White House continued to deny Senators information, despite numerous requests, and then recess appoints her to circumvent the advice and consent process. So much for transparency and accountability," said DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton.

Aponte runs a consulting firm and previously ran the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration and sat on the board of the National Council of La Raza, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and the University of the District of Columbia.

Obama also recess appointed Elisabeth Hagen as the Agriculture Department's undersecretary for food safety, Winslow Sargeant as chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration and Richard Sorian as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Hagen is USDA's chief medical officer and once held a senior post at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Sargeant used to work for the National Science Foundation's engineering directorate and held senior engineering jobs at Lucent, AT&T Bell Labs and IBM. Sorian was once a senior communications adviser to former HHS secretary Donna E. Shalala.

As colleague Al Kamen wrote this month, Obama may have reached a high-water mark for this year in terms of filling positions. The Senate will return briefly in September and will probably have a short lame-duck session. A series of departures, promotions and lateral moves among political appointees should start soon after the midterm elections.

Track all Obama nominees -- confirmed, appointed and pending -- with The Washington Post's Head Count.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 19, 2010; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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Comments

Is he on vacation again? Jesus! Can he be impeached for taking a vacation every week?


And get it right Washington Post! Rahm Emanuel made the appointment!

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | August 19, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

B.O. is owned by wallstreet?

By not appointing Elizabeth Warren;
BO is giving driving directions to Jonestown,Guyana.

ALL U.S. MONEY PROBLEMS CAUSED BY THE 2% RICHEST UNPATRIOTIC AMERICANS.

No Jobs and No Social Security in America because enough money is never enough money for the 2% wealthiest. The 2% wealthiest steal our social security, our 401K's, our homes,and our jobs. What are 30 million Americans going to do without any hope of jobs?Will that 30 million turn into 250 million Americans long term unemployed? The 2% wealthiest got their obscene billions from the ribs of the Middle Class. What will all these millions of Americans do to survive? If you pay attention to all these BIG problems, you know there may be no way for 30 - 50 - 100 - 200 million Middle class Americans to survive. Social Security was stolen by Reagan and Bush W. for Tax cuts for the wealthiest. Virtual Immigration Offshore-Outsourced 50% U.S. Jobs. Internal Illegal Immigration has taken 25-30% internal American jobs. Glass-Steagall Act Repealed needs to be re-enacted. Sherman Anti-trust act needs to be enforced.

The 2% wealthiest are afraid of Elizabeth Warren.

The Stimulus was used to build car factories in Mexico. Foreign Aide; Invasions; Imperialistic Wars for Big Oil and Big Defense Contracts. Disintegrating Education. Lobbyists empowered by loss of State and Citizen Rights.



Posted by: ganttbarb | August 19, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I think recess appointments are a clear and justified "shot across the bow" of obstructionist Senators, to remind them that it is not a prerogative, but a duty, to perform their "advise and consent" function.

I think that Bush and Clinton were equally justified, for the same reason. If the Senate wants to do their jobs, which at best are part-time, then they should do them.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | August 19, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Two words: John Bolton.

Posted by: mikel7 | August 19, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

President Obama will never get approval from the republicans on anything or anyone.
He should appoint whoever is needed in key positions as has waited long enough for approval he will never get.
For person mentioning vacations, GWB took 977 vacation days!!

Posted by: kathlenec | August 19, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

FormerDemocrat Wrote: "Is he on vacation again? Jesus! Can he be impeached for taking a vacation every week?

Why don't you count how many vacations Bush took?

Posted by: sfspec | August 19, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Now wait, neither Ernesto "Che" Guevara or Hugo Chavez were given administrative appointments? What about those fine Americans and personal BO friends, William Ayers and the very patriotic, Reverend Jeremiah Wright?

Posted by: wcochran60 | August 19, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

ganttbarb is right on. My bumper sticker reads "Different Party animals - same crap"
I for one will vote for term limits because I believe voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Independent or moderate candidates that are NOT incumbents will get my vote going forward. Every major bill that has been passed is seriously compromised in favor or special interests that benefits the top 1 or 2$. Our elections are a joke and in many cases have lower standards than many third world countries. Even with voting standards money is buying elections with corporate money.

Posted by: tginmn | August 19, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Congress should vote to remove these appointments just to let NObama he can not do anything he damn well pleases !!! Remember Democrats November is coming soon to a city or town near you !!!!!

Posted by: Klimax | August 19, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Who's complaining about President Obama vacationing so much??!!!??? President Bush was at the Crawford Ranch White House for more days than President Obama's been in office! The nerve!!! And isn't it a fact that President Obama got more nusiness done while on vacation than Georgie boy did at work?! I'd be careful about complaining about vacation time, Former Democrat!

Posted by: dakotahgeo | August 19, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Bravo!! It is time for the elimination of the procedural rule that allows one Senator to block or hold anything as long as these guys have done. If they get a hold, it should be for 30 days and they should have to show cause or drop their hold. In no case should the hold process go longer than 30 days in total. This entire process is STUPID.

Posted by: ronjeske | August 19, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

wow now we argue over when obama takes a vacation...why worry about him being a secret muslim or aiding illegals coming to the usa ? argue over simple stuff huh ? this obama is anti america and allowing non-citizens special status by not enforcing the laws already enacted by the US Congress..impeach this mistake...resign obama. and take the injustice minister eric holder with you....

Posted by: DERRUFO2 | August 19, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

It's agood thing B.O. takes so many vacations. Think how much more damage he could do if he worked all the time. Remember in November.

Posted by: popichak | August 19, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sfspec

--------------------------
FormerDemocrat Wrote: "Is he on vacation again? Jesus! Can he be impeached for taking a vacation every week?
--------------------------

Why don't you count how many vacations Bush took?
=========================
I really don 't care about Bush he is not the President. But I do care about me and I just counted how many vacations I had in the last 5 years.....NONE!


Posted by: gspeye | August 19, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Mr Obama knows he is a one term President so he is going to have as much fun as he can while he peppers the Federal Government with appointees who will hire full time Bureaucrats of the Socialist persuasion, (that can not be fired) who will perform his socialist agenda until they are weeded out which could take decades.

Posted by: gspeye | August 19, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

To Former Democrat and gspeye:

First and formost, you don't get to decide his vacations for him and his family. That's your problem that you haven't been on a vacation in five years. Go get on one and leave everybody else out of your lack of having not been on one including the Obamas! Two, President Bush (43) took way more vacations than that by the end of his second year in office so I don't want to hear it! Get over yourself! Three, gspeye, as bad as things are economically, they would be a hell of a lot worse if we had "stayed the course" we were going under the Republicans! The President is nowhere near being a one termer! If you paid attention to history, right now, he is a little bit better than where President Reagan was in 1982 and we all know what happened in November 1984! Don't sleep on President Obama, he and the Democratic Party will be ready for anything coming their way in 2012, I promise you that! And come January of 2013, the president will begin brand new second term!

Posted by: wcellerbe | August 19, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

ELISABETH WARREN

people should sign and put Elisabeth Warren on the November Ballot.She could help over %80 percent of Americans that
%80 + percent could elect her. Not even the Senate could override.

Posted by: theoldmansays | August 19, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

ELISABETH WARREN

TAXPAYORS NEED HER

WEALTHY 2% DON'T

Posted by: theoldmansays | August 19, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

DEMOCRATS COULD WIN

REPUBLICANS COULD LOSE

NOMINATE ELISABETH WARREN TO BE ELECTED

IF THE REPUBLICANS FIGHT IT THEY COULD LOSE,BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT WOULD BE PROTECTING BIG MONEY

Posted by: theoldmansays | August 19, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong about this process is that
the lawmakers are not getting the information they have requested on the nominees! If Obama wanted them confirmed
then he should make certain that all information is disclosed. Obviously he doesn't want the lawmakers to be fully informed on his nominees! So much for
an administration that said it would be the
most transparent!! The only thing that is transparent is that the libs are getting caught hiding things, thinking that no one
will be able to out them!!! Americans don't trust this Congress and President period! We have good reason not to.

Posted by: SCSOCAL | August 19, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

WOW! he's on vacation, how dare he work while he is on vacation. That in itself will make Republicans have seizures.

Posted by: catmomtx | August 19, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

One commenter put it very well. If the Senate refuses to do its duty under the "advice and consent" clause of the Constitution, then the President has no choice but to make recess appointments. These are very important positions in the federal government that need to be filled with competent people ASAP. If the Republicans want to sit on their thumbs and obstruct, I have confidence in President Obama that he will appoint competent individuals to fill the vacancies that must be filled.

As for vacations, I don't see any Republicans objecting to all the vacations taken by Congress throughout the year. In fact, the Republicans are the first to leave Washington, when there is important business to be completed.

Posted by: Caliguy55 | August 19, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

One commenter put it very well. If the Senate refuses to do its duty under the "advice and consent" clause of the Constitution, then the President has no choice but to make recess appointments. These are very important positions in the federal government that need to be filled with competent people ASAP. If the Republicans want to sit on their thumbs and obstruct, I have confidence in President Obama that he will appoint competent individuals to fill the vacancies that must be filled.

As for vacations, I don't see any Republicans objecting to all the vacations taken by Congress throughout the year. In fact, the Republicans are the first to leave Washington, when there is important business to be completed.

Posted by: Caliguy55 | August 19, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama is seldom right, but he is consistent in his specious comments.

Stupid and Industrious!

Posted by: 2012frank | August 19, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

if only I chose politics as a profession at 24-25 and made it WOW WOW what a lovely crook I would have made and the company would have been great and to get FULL pay and bennies till death that's America at its worst

Posted by: sidandphyl561 | August 19, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Klimax, glad to see that your Exlamation point key can be typed at least three times in a row.

"Congress should vote to remove these appointments just to let NObama he can not do anything he damn well pleases !!!"

Read closer, actually that sentence makes no sense, grammatically or real, anyway try using some logos, for a change (argument by logic) instead of lothing. Why is it that the losers of an election just can't seem to respect the president? I for one don't agree with half of what he does but I still bealive that he is taking our country away from dangerous waters and he has the right to a vacation, and to be able to appoint an AMBASSADOR to El Salvador without much hassle.

Your comment shows the ignorance and hate that is prevalent in too many conservatives and liberals today, which is the real reason middle ground is so to find.

tginmn and wcellerbe have got it right, incumbents should be voted out and our president (can you name a more stressfull job?) should get a vacation.

Posted by: DrReid- | August 19, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

To, DERRUFO2

So he is muslim...is there a problem?

Lets not blame and get stuck in the past, or lament and lather in the present but rather lets look to the future, how are are we going to fix this? Vote him out? sure, but for the right reasons

I am a normal Roman Catholic and that is why I see normal muslims as no diffrent that the rest of america, it has its pros and cons but we have to live with it.

I vote to end Hate, Bigotry, and Ignorance NOW !

Posted by: DrReid- | August 19, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

As has been said many times before, Obama is the worst, most incompetent "president" in American history, and even though we still do not know who he is, he is still squatting in the Oval office after almost two years!

Posted by: churchlionjudah | August 19, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, DrReid, there is a problem: Obama is obviously a Muslim and America is a Christian nation no matter what the "Manchurian President" thinks! He hates Christians, he hates America and he hates American Constitutional law; How can he be be "president"? Radical Muslims are sworn to kill all Christians and Jews!

Posted by: churchlionjudah | August 19, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who question why the White House refuses to release enough information for the Senate to approve of his nominations. To then insert these individuals, whose interests my be contrary to mainstream America is, in my opinion, the epitome of an increasingly out of touch president. The possible Cuban intelligenc connection and the tie to La Raza are alone enough for me to object to Maria del Carmen Aponte.

Posted by: Lilycat11 | August 20, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Why did you only mention 2 of the 4 appointments? I read that the other 2 are muslims. Is that why?

Posted by: elby | August 20, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm truly in awe of the stupidity & ignorance of some people, all perpetuated by the fringe morons in the right-wing media. Let's start with this idiotic notion that Obama is a Muslim: he is NOT a Muslim, but a died-in-the-wool, American Christian Protestant. What's more, he's not remotely communist. Almost everything passed by this Congress has been business friendly. The Climate Bill gave billions to Coal producers & utilities so they could keep on polluting. The Healthcare Bill made money for insurance companies, as almost every single one of them is charging higher premiums for less coverage. Frankly, the GOP should be proud, but they're too busy being jealous they didn't take care of business when they had the chance. Oh, the whole cap & trade concept was originally a republican idea, first used to cut & then eliminate emissions that caused acid rain. The GOP first proposed a Cap & Trade scheme for carbon emissions back in 2006, but couldn't get it through the then Democrat-controlled Congress. Now that Democrats are on board, the GOP will do anything to see the plan fail, just to be obstructionist.

I'm really sick of politics in America. It's just become a game for these powerful incumbents who have lifelong benefits & salaries waiting for them. The middle class gets squeezed & screwed to the point where they just don't stand a chance in the world. We can't own homes anymore, & no one can provide for a family as a single-earner anymore. Multiple families practically HAVE to live together to afford anything, making us no different than the third world. All the while, the ones who own & control everything, who don't want to give up any of the wealth they've accumulated & can't possibly spend in ten lifetimes, wag the dog at us, keeping us fighting amongst ourselves by praying on our fears: the President isn't an American, he's a Muslim, he's a communist, he's going to take away all our liberties, & he's going to turn our country over to the new World Government & destroy the Constitution, despite the fact that Bush & the GOP made the greatest attack on our liberties & our Constitution since the Brits burned Washington in the War of 1812!

Posted by: xiape | August 21, 2010 5:44 AM | Report abuse

You said it XIAPE! That so peferectly describes the present reality. To my great disappointment, Mr. Obama has turned out to be a better Republican than the Republicans themselves so they paint him as any kind of untruthful thing.
Thaks for putting the matter so clearly!

Posted by: 1citizen | August 21, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Maria del Carmen Aponte had a long personal relationship with a Cuban that was a spy for Cuba. She has strong ties to La Raza, but she got herself an ambassadorship on a "recess" appointment......

The recent Health Care bill passed through reconciliation machinations.....after which Mr Obama stated, . As Mr. Obama fatalistically said after his health summit, if voters don't like it, "then that's what elections are for."

None of this is working! We shall see new results this January. BIG TIME!

Posted by: gringagran | August 22, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Democrats have overwhelming majorities in both houses and they won't bother to confirm The President's nominees TWO YEARS into His term.

This is truly sick.

Today's Democrats have the balls of a eunuch and the guts of a skeleton.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 23, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Grinigan writes: The recent Health Care bill passed through reconciliation machinations.....

________________________________________

Right - the same reconciliation machinations Republicans used to pass the Bush tax cuts. Which were completely unfunded. Which the Republicans now want to make permanent for the top 2%.

Posted by: memccroden | August 25, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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