Senate War Over Presidential Appointees Heats Up as Two Nominees Are Blocked

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 4: Incoming Chairman Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) of the Congressional Black Caucus applauds during a swearing-in ceremony of caucus members in the 109th U.S. Congress at the Library of Congress January 4, 2005 in Washington, DC. The 109th Congress was sworn in January 4. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Michael Catalin
Add to Briefcase
Michael Catalin
Oct. 31, 2013, 10:32 a.m.

Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans blocked two White House nom­in­a­tions on Thursday, in­clud­ing Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the Fed­er­al Hous­ing Fin­ance Agency.

Watt’s nom­in­a­tion, which went down on a 56-42 clo­ture vote, was highly politi­cized be­cause the role in­cludes over­see­ing Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac. Con­ser­vat­ives, in­clud­ing the Club for Growth, op­posed the nom­in­a­tion be­cause they said it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for a politi­cian to fill such a role.

“I have said from day one that a tech­no­crat, not a politi­cian, should lead the FHFA, the reg­u­lat­or charged with over­see­ing the $5 tril­lion port­fo­li­os of Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac,” said Sen. Bob Cork­er, R-Tenn.

Re­pub­lic­ans also blocked the nom­in­a­tion of Pa­tri­cia Ann Mil­lett to be a judge on the U.S. Cir­cuit Court for the Dis­trict of Columbia by a clo­ture vote of 55-38. Sixty votes were needed to ad­vance the nom­in­a­tions.

Re­pub­lic­ans cited Demo­crat­ic at­tacks against a GOP ju­di­cial nom­in­ee, Peter Keisler, who was fili­bustered be­cause Demo­crats ar­gued there was a light work­load for the court and the po­s­i­tion did not need to be filled. So, the reas­on Demo­crats want to ap­prove Mil­lett now is polit­ics, Re­pub­lic­ans ar­gued.

“Our Demo­crat­ic col­leagues and the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s sup­port­ers have been fairly can­did about it,” said Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, R-Ky. “They have ad­mit­ted they want to con­trol the court so it will ad­vance the pres­id­ent’s agenda.”

The blocked nom­in­a­tions re­ignite a sim­mer­ing fight in the Sen­ate over wheth­er to change the con­firm­a­tion pro­cess to lim­it the minor­ity party’s abil­ity to block nom­in­a­tions.

Demo­crats re­acted furi­ously to the failed pro­ced­ur­al votes.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing that a sit­ting mem­ber of Con­gress with over 40 years of rel­ev­ant ex­per­i­ence was denied an up-or-down vote by a minor­ity of sen­at­ors today,” said Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tim John­son, D-S.D., in a state­ment. “It is not a secret that this vote was pure ob­struc­tion­ist polit­ics at play.”

What We're Following See More »
HAPPENED LAST WEEK
Bannon Subpoenaed By Mueller
40 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. ...Mr. Mueller is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel’s offices in Washington."

Source:
RYBICKI TO DISCUSS CLINTON’S EMAIL SERVER
Wray Chief of Staff to Meet with House Investigators Thursday
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The chief of staff and senior counselor to FBI Director Christopher Wray is expected to meet with the House Oversight Committee Thursday. A spokesperson for House Oversight confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Jim Rybicki is expected to testify as part of the committee’s investigation into the Department of Justice’s probe in Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and the decision by then-FBI Director James Comey to announce there would be no criminal charges against the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee."

Source:
WON’T SAY WHETHER NORWAY IS PREDOMINATELY WHITE
Nielsen Defends Trump Before Senate Judiciary
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen confirmed that President Trump used 'tough language' in an Oval Office meeting last week over immigration policy, but she said she did not hear him describe some African countries and Haiti as 'shithole countries,' as has been reported." When pressed she, also said she "didn't know" whether Norway was a predominately white country.

Source:
TICKS UP TO 12.2%
Uninsured Rate Rose in 2017
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The percentage of Americans without health insurance ticked up 1.3 percentage points in 2017, ending the year at 12.2%, according to the latest data from Gallup. That’s still a lot lower than it was before the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion took effect, but this is the biggest single-year increase under the ACA."

Source:
TESTIMONY COULD HAPPEN AS SOON AS FRIDAY
Hicks to Meet with House Intel Committee
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is expected to meet with the House Intelligence Committee as soon as this week, making her one of President Donald Trump's closest confidantes to be privately interviewed in the panel's Russia investigation, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN." She could testify as soon as Friday.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login