The Atlantic’s James Fallows says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is weakening America by holding up Presidential appointments. The appointees, says Fallows, need to be in place and working on solving the country’s problems.

As you may have heard elsewhere, the Obama Administration has been relatively slow in vetting and choosing nominees for many of its important posts — but then has encountered extreme slowness from the Senate in approving the appointments once they get made. If you go to this White House site, you’ll find a searchable, sortable list of all 820+ nominations and appointments made so far in the Administration; about 240 have not even come up for a Senate vote. If you go to this U.S. Senate site and click on the link for “Executive Calendar,” you’ll get a long PDF showing in its “nominations” section the scores and scores of people who have come through committees but not received a vote on the Senate floor. (Direct link to the PDF here.)

On Thursday afternoon, just before its Memorial Day recess, the Senate had planned to consider about 80 of these nominations as a group. They all had been through financial and security vetting; they had been through committee consideration; they were headed for jobs that in many cases now stood vacant; they were ready to go. Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, moved for approval by unanimous consent, apparently believing that a deal to clear out the huge backlog had been struck. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, begged to differ. Hewas still sore about the recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Therefore he wouldn’t agree to the en-bloc vote.

Your thoughts? You can read the entire piece (complete with excerpts from the floor debate) here.

Advertisements