On Tuesday, Obama met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a bipartisan meeting and warned that he would use the upcoming Senate recess to appoint his nominees. At the beginning of the week, more than 63 nominees had holds on their confirmation.
Obama made a surprise appearance before the White House press corps on Tuesday, announcing that he would consider making recess appointments if congress did not act.
In a statement released Thursday after his nominees were confirmed, Obama said that he might still make recess appointments if the Senate does not act after it comes back from recess. The Senate's next recess after President's Day will begin March 29.
Today, the United States Senate confirmed 27 of my high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months.
At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination. In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process.
Instead, many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator's state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people.
And so on Tuesday, I told Senator McConnell that if Republican senators did not release these holds, I would exercise my authority to fill critically-needed positions in the federal government temporarily through the use of recess appointments. This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate.
While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.
Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined Republican Senators in voting to block the confirmation of Obama labor nominee Craig Becker Tuesday. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says he would welcome a Obama recess appointment for Becker.