December 29th, 2010
06:30 PM ET

Obama makes six recess appointments

HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) - Taking time out from his Hawaiian vacation to assert some executive authority, President Obama used a series of recess appointments to override Republican objections to several nominees.

Obama used his Constitutional power to recess appoint six people who have had their nominations pending for an average of 147 days, according to White House officials.

White House officials said privately that the president acted because of Republican obstructionism on the nominees, which include the prestigious posts of deputy attorney general and ambassadors to Turkey, the Czech Republic, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Senate Republican aides did not have any immediate comment on the recess appointments, which essentially allows these nominees to serve in their posts in a temporary capacity for about one year. If the nominees are not confirmed by the end of the next session of Congress, which is likely to end next November or December, the post will become vacant again.

The list includes James Cole, who was nominated to be deputy attorney general. A longtime Washington attorney, he is best known for serving as special counsel in the House ethics investigation of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R). A major reason Cole's nomination had been held up was because of concern raised by Republicans he once had worked as an independent consultant for the insurance giant AIG.

Norm Eisen, the nominee for ambassador to the Czech Republic, also received a recess appointment. He most recently served as special counsel inside the White House on ethical issues.

Another recess appointee was Matthew Bryza, who was nominated to be ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.

Also on the list is Robert Stephen Ford, who was nominated to be ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who currently works in the State Department's office of inspector general.

Obama also recess appointed Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. was nominated to be ambassador to the Republic of Turkey. He has served most recently as deputy ambassador and Charge; d; Afaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Rounding out the list is William J. Boarman, who was nominated to be public printer of the United States. He has served as president of the Printing, Publishing & Media Workers Sector of the Communications Workers of America.

White House officials note that Senate Democrats have been forced to seek a supermajority of 60 votes to confirm 21 of the president's nominees because of Republican roadblocks, while former President Bush only need to seek so-called "cloture" votes on four of his nominees in 8 years.

In all, 18 of those Obama nominees were subsequently confirmed with 60 or more votes or by voice vote in the last two years, suggesting that they were relatively non-controversial. White House officials also note Bush had made 23 recess appointments by this point in his presidency.

The Obama officials note that at the end of Bush’s first two years, there were only 6 nominees awaiting a Senate vote. By contrast, Obama had 79 nominees pending on the floor when the Senate adjourned last week.

In all, Obama has now made 28 recess appointments, five more than Bush had made at this point, even though White House aides assert Bush faced less opposition to his picks.

Topics: President Obama • The News • Uncategorized

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Mark

    And yet one more AIG exec into the Bama White House:)

    December 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • IEK

      Independent consultant is not the same as an executive.

      January 3, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  2. Rudy Gonzales

    FOX, the voice of the Republican and TEA party stated it this way: "Obamas controversial recess appointment". How lame is that? every president has done this in the past. The Republican and TEA parties will be in charge in a couple of week and they will be responsible for more than they want. What goes around...comes around. We need to vote out all incumbent career politicians no matter which party they call themselves. Most are shallow narcissistic and in for themselves just like Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Rand and Ron Paul and Christine O'Donnell.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  3. vikingslost

    These appointments, because of Republican roadblocks, were pending for an average of 147 days.

    Recess appointments were done by other Presidents, including George W. Bush.

    Happy New Year!

    December 31, 2010 at 6:40 am |
  4. Howard

    Once again, Obama appoints people based on political correctness, or political cronyism, instead of competence, or qualifications ... but, of course that too is how Obama assumed the Presidency.

    January 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    @Howard; isn't 'political correctness' what this nation of a so-called CHRISTIAN background and based turned into? PRESIDENT OBAMA is trying his best to get through the causes of the masses; he's trying to select unbiased people who will help to get those things done! Or would you rather him have to go through more 'no's, stonewalling and wasting time trying to get bills passed for what it seems most justifying AMERICANS have turned into? POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has OVERRIDDEN RIGHTEOUSNESS in this country!

    January 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  6. james

    Seriously, how stupid are americans becoming?how much stupidier can they become?you think you are destroying obama coz he is a black president which you oppose,you are instead showing how stupid you are to the world coz we know whats right and wrong. you cant lie in intelligent peoples faces and think you are clever.the guy have to do that coz you cant allow him to do his job.I dont know how long its gonna take you americans to fall backwards.
    You think you are doing things to bring obama down , but all we see outsiders is how ignorant, blind,and untrustworthness you americans are for not agreeing with truth and go by the likes and dislikes of the person. Instead of respecting his work .we love your president very much and hate you people saying no to everything that he does. we look at it and find it good . you americans say its not ,coz of the president you dont like .Shame on you stupid people.
    use more brains instead of racial are becoming last in this world coz you dont wanna work hard ,the time to use your skin to get things your way is over.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Use your brain instead.
    thank you and God Bless American thinkers not dummies with mouths and rights to voice their nonses.

    January 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  7. jimbo

    And all while wearing his flip-flops. President Obama is my hero.

    January 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  8. Fadeaa

    Carlo, One good way is to publicize the names who does not vote for the reativocon of ML. Publicize their names well and for long til the elections so that we have another list of NOT TO VOTE FOR .

    September 10, 2012 at 2:50 am |