Archive for the ‘Trump nominees’ category

Senate confirms 65 Trump nominees on last day before August break

August 3, 2017

Senate confirms 65 Trump nominees on last day before August break, Washington Examiner, Susan Ferrechio, August 3, 2017

The U.S. Senate confirmed more than five dozen Trump administration nominees Thursday, reflecting a deal between Republicans and Democrats that will let lawmakers in both parties return home for the summer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved the nominations in a large package agreed to by voice vote, meaning no senators objected.

Among those confirmed were former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican of Texas, who will be Trump’s ambassador to NATO, and Robert Wood Johnson, who was confirmed as ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Democrats agreed to move the nominees forward quickly, ending months of delays and obstructions to nearly every single Trump nominee. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had been dragging out the process of confirming the nominees to protest the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare by using a procedural move that would have thwarted the ability of Democrats to filibuster.

With the effort to move that bill stalled indefinitely and bipartisan hearings on the embattled healthcare law underway, Schumer agreed to move what became known as “the package” of nominees.

“The Senate has confirmed more executive branch nominees this week than all of the executive branch nominees confirmed this year combined,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “I hope this agreement represents a way forward on confirming nominees so our government can be fully staffed and working for the American people.”

Among others, the Senate confirmed Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr to two vacant positions on the Federal Communications Commission. “Looking forward to working with them to promote the public interest,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tweeted after the voice vote.

The list also included top and lower tier positions in many different departments and agencies ranging from Health and Human Services to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, where Christopher Giancarlo was approved to serve as chairman and Brian Quintens was confirmed a its commissioner.

The longest list of nominees confirmed were under the State Department and included Mark Andrew Green to serve as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and eight ambassadors.

In addition to Bailey Hutchinson and Johnson, Sharon Day was confirmed as the ambassador to Costa Rica, John P. Desrocher of New York was confirmed as ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, and George Edward Glass of Oregon was confirmed as Ambassador to Portugal.

The list included U.S. attorneys and deputy attorneys general and assistant secretaries for the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Commerce and Homeland Security.

The confirmations come after months of frustration for Republicans and President Trump. While Democrats and Republicans in the past have generally sped through many executive branch nominees under a new president, Democrats slowed Trump’s picks to a crawl, requiring the GOP to use all required debate time which meant single nominations took days rather than minutes or hours.

McConnell said earlier this week he has determined that under the hurdles set by Democrats, it would take 12 years to confirm all of Trump’s nominees.

Schumer told Republicans he was slowing the process because he was opposed to their effort to repeal Obamacare, which is now on hold after the Senate failed last week to move a bill.

Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas called the passage of the confirmation package “a big day,” and should have happened much sooner “but for the obstruction and foot-dragging of our colleagues across the aisle.”