President Obama won a partial victory in his stalemate over nominees yesterday, as the Senate confirmed 27 of them. Obama described this as a "good first step" in an announcement sent to reporters last night, and he reiterated his threat to use recess appointments if more of his nominees don't receive votes.
"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. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future," Obama said.
Holds have been a political focal point of late, mostly as a showcase of GOP recalcitrance, harped on often by Democrats last week as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) had placed a hold on all nominees on the executive calendar, according to Senate Majority Harry Reid's office, at one point totaling 80 nominees. Shelby was seeking multimillion-dollar earmarks for his home state.
The confirmed nominees included some top posts at Treasury, an under secretary for health at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, high-level posts at Commerce, a CFO for the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, assistant secretaries of Defense and the Army, a representative to the UN office in Geneva, and some U.S. attorneys.
The nominees weren't Obama's most controversial: his nominee to the National Labor Relations Board, Craig Becker, had already gotten a vote on Tuesday and was blocked; Dawn Johnsen, nominee to the Office of Legal Counsil, is still making her way through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Here's the full list of nominees confirmed yesterday, provided by Reid's office:
· Patrick Alfred Corvington to be Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service
· Robert A. Petzel to be Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs
· Nicole Yvette Lamb-Hale to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce
· Marisa Lago to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
· Ellen Gloninger Murray to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services
· Bryan Hayes Samuels to be Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
· Charles Collyns to be a Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury
· Mary John Miller to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
· André Birotte, Jr.to be United States Attorney for the Central District of California
· Richard S. Hartunian to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York
· Ronald C. Machen, Jr. to be United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
· Mary Sally Matiella to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army
· Douglas B. Wilson to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense
· Irvin M. Mayfield, Jr. to be a Member of the National Council on the Arts
· Cynthia L. Attwood to be a Member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for a term expiring April 27, 2013
· Sharon Y. Bowen to be a Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation
· Orlan Johnson to be a Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation for a term expiring December 31,2011
· Douglas A. Criscitello to be Chief Financial Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development
· Theodore W. Tozer to be President Government National Mortgage Association
· David W. Mills to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce
· Suresh Kumar to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service
· Kevin Wolf to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce