At the beginning of this week, the Senate was sitting on 63 of President Obama’s nominees because of holds placed on them by one or more senators. In a bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, Obama warned Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that he would be forced to make a large number of recess appointments if Republicans didn’t stop their politicking and help break the “unprecedented” logjam before the Senate’s Presidents’ Day recess. Today, the Senate finally confirmed 27 of these nominees. However, in his statement, Obama held out the possibility of using recess appointments in the future if Republicans continue to block his nominees:
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.
Politico has a full list of the confirmations here. One person still outstanding is Marisa Demeo to serve on the D.C. Superior Court. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been blocking this openly gay Latina from receiving an up or down vote because of concerns over her “leftist activism.” Republicans are insisting that Obama didn’t win this “showdown” because they “blinked,” but rather that this large number of confirmations is just “what happens before a recess.”
Other important nominees that Republicans continue to block: “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.”