Executive Calendar In Crisis

Democrats’ Unprecedented Obstruction Has ‘Created A New Low Standard’


President Trump’s Nominees Have Faced Five Times More Cloture Votes Than All Six Of His Predecessors In Their First Two Years Combined

President Trump’s nominees have faced 128 cloture votes in the first two years of his administration compared to 24 for all six of his predecessors combined in their first two years.

  • There have been over TEN TIMES more cloture votes on President Trump’s nominees in his first two years than on President Obama’s nominees in his first two years.

Number of cloture votes taken in the Senate on judicial and executive nominations in the first two years of a president’s term:



Senate Cloture Votes On Nominations Held During First Two Years


128 1,2



G. W. Bush



8 3

G. H.W. Bush






Notes: Includes judicial and executive branch nominees and failed cloture votes. Excludes cloture motions waived or vitiated.

  1. Trump: Includes cloture votes on judicial nominees Ryan Bounds and Thomas Farr whose nominations were subsequently withdrawn.
  2. Trump: Includes 2 cloture votes for the following nominees: Neil Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (before and after precedent change), Jelena McWilliams to be both an FDIC board member and its chair, Randal Quarles to fill an unexpired Federal Reserve Board seat and a reappointment to that seat, Peter A. Feldman to fill an unexpired term on the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a reappointment to a full term, A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. to be a district court judge and later to be a circuit court judge. Includes only one cloture vote on the nomination of Richard Clarida to be Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve as a cloture motion on his nomination to be a board member was withdrawn.
  3. Clinton: Includes a cloture vote on 5 nominees at once (all of whom were subsequently confirmed by voice vote) and 2 failed cloture votes on the nomination of Sam Brown.

(“Cloture Motions,” U.S. Senate Website, Accessed 1/03/2019)


SEN. BLUNT: ‘Senate Democrats Have Abused The Rules To The Point Where The President Can’t Put His Team In Place And The Senate Can’t Do Its Work’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The real crisis here is the administration itself below the Cabinet level has an enormous number of vacancies…. Once we get to cloture on a number of these nominees they aren’t even controversial. So it’s pretty obvious the whole purpose is just to eat up floor time.” (Politico, 2/13/2019)

  • SEN. McCONNELL: “The real crisis of the Executive Calendar … has to do with assistant secretaries … some of whom have been sitting around here for a year and a half, whose lives have been largely interrupted, who aren’t controversial, but who cannot get processed.” (U.S. Senate Rules Committee Business Meeting, 2/13/2019)
  • SEN. McCONNELL: “I offered the Democratic Leader [Sen. Schumer] a package of 150 non-judicial executive branch appointments that came out of committee supported by both Democrats and Republicans…. And he rejected it. We had 30 district court judges … I tried to get the Democratic Leader to approve, 12 of whom … the Democratic senators had a major role to play in who got nominated, and they were rejected.” (U.S. Senate Rules Committee Business Meeting, 2/13/2019)

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO), Senate Rules Committee Chairman: “Senate Democrats have abused the rules to the point where the president can’t put his team in place and the Senate can’t do its work. The degree of obstruction we’ve seen during the first two years of the Trump Administration is totally unacceptable.” (Sen. Lankford, Press Release, 2/13/2019)

  • SEN. BLUNT: “Democrats have been abusing the rules on presidential nominations to the point that we just don't have floor time for anything else, and people can't be confirmed…. President Bush, Clinton and Obama had a total of 24 cloture votes filed in all three administrations in those first two years. 128 cloture votes have been required by Democrats in this Congress…. And if you look at the 30 hours of debate they've been requiring, virtually none of that debate, with only a couple of rare circumstances, is a debate about the nominees. It is clearly an attempt just to use up time to not let the president have the team he needs in place to run the government and to not let us have the legislative time we need.” (Sen. Blunt, Press Conference, 2/12/2019)

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): “In the past, every President was essentially able to select their staff and begin serving the American people right after inauguration—until President Trump. In the past two years, Democrats have slowed the confirmation of more than 100 nominees, which has created a new low standard for how all future presidents will be treated…. Post-cloture debate time should be used for debate, not meaningless delay on an empty Senate floor.” (Sen. Lankford, Press Release, 2/13/2019)

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “That has to change…. This diminishes the advice and consent role of the Senate…. We end up with an executive filled with acting nominees who have no accountability to us.” (U.S. Senate Rules Committee Business Meeting, 2/13/2019)

  • SEN. ALEXANDER: “We should do what we did in 2011, 12, and 13, when I—a Republican—volunteered to work to help President Obama—a Democrat—and a Democratic majority make it easier for presidents to confirm nominees.” (U.S. Senate Rules Committee Business Meeting, 2/13/2019)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): “We have gotten to a point where it almost borders on the ridiculous with how our rules have allowed for such a dilatory process, that it doesn’t benefit anyone. And I regret that.” (Politico, 2/13/2019)


‘Democratic Opposition Came Despite Their Support For A Rules Change In 2013 When They Were In The Majority’

“Senate Republicans are moving to speed up the confirmation process for nominees …” (Politico, 2/13/2019)