Senate Continues to Clear Backlog of Nominees Left By Democrats’ Obstruction
‘In 48 session days from January through April, we were able to confirm just 23 nominees. But in the 20 days immediately following the modest reform, we’d confirmed 45. That’s twice as many nominations in less than half the time. And of course, the number of confirmations has continued to climb in the weeks since then. We needed to get these folks on the job for the sake of the country. The president - any president - should be able to stand up a government.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need to confirm more of the president’s well-qualified nominees:
“Yesterday, the Senate voted to confirm Andrew Saul of New York to serve as Commissioner of Social Security and voted to advance several more highly-qualified nominees. Today, we’ll vote to confirm three other executive-branch nominees to important posts at the Departments of State and Interior and at the CFTC. And we’ll advance three more judicial nominees to fill seats on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Court of Federal Claims.
“So the Senate continues to clear the backlog left by more than two years of systematic delays and obstruction that extended even to nominees with major bipartisan support. Impressive, unobjectionable individuals who had spent months -- and in some cases, well over a year -- on the executive calendar were finally granted straightforward votes. But the modest rules change the Senate adopted this spring is already making a change.
“In 48 session days from January through April, we were able to confirm just 23 nominees. But in the 20 days immediately following the modest reform, we’d confirmed 45. That’s twice as many nominations in less than half the time. And of course, the number of confirmations has continued to climb in the weeks since then. We needed to get these folks on the job for the sake of the country. The president – any president – should be able to stand up a government. The American people deserve to be governed by the government they voted for.
“Many of the jobs that have been needlessly held open are not typically the highest-profile positions. But they are still hugely important. As I said yesterday, until we confirm David Schenker later today, his confirmation to hold the top Middle East job at the State Department will have been held up for more than a year. And yet, as a cloture vote indicated, this qualified nominee carries overwhelming support. The nomination has been held by the Democratic side for political purposes that have nothing to do with the nominee or his qualifications for the position. Given the crises ranging from Libya to Yemen and almost everywhere in between, it is past time to have an Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs confirmed and on the job.
“Later today we’ll also finally confirm Susan Combs to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Interior. Her noncontroversial nomination has been pending in the Senate since July of 2017. That is nearly 700 days, just shy of two years. But starting tomorrow, she’ll finally be on the job. These are the kinds of nominees who once would have moved swiftly through the Senate, and often by voice vote. I wish we could rediscover that tradition. But one way or another, we will continue to make progress.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations, National Security