Earlier tonight, Senators unanimously confirmed the following nominations:
- Carolyn N. Lerner, of Maryland, to be Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel, for the term of five years
- Kelvin K. Droegemeier, of Oklahoma, to be a Member of the National Science Board, National Science Foundation for a term expiring May 10, 2016
- Kathryn D. Sullivan, of Ohio, to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Observation and Prediction)
- Frances M.D. Gulland, of California, to be a Member of the Marine Mammal Commission for a term expiring May 13, 2012
- Ann D. Begeman, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board for a term expiring December 31, 2015
- Mario Cordero, of California, to be a Federal Maritime Commissioner for the term expiring June 30, 2014
- Rebecca F. Dye, of North Carolina, to be a Federal Maritime Commissioner for the term expiring June 30, 2015
- Peter Bruce Lyons, of New Mexico, to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy (Nuclear Energy)
- Nils Maarten Parin Daulaire, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization
- Joseph M. Torsella, of Pennsylvania, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador
- Joseph M. Torsella, of Pennsylvania, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform
- Kurt Walter Tong, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Senior Official for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum
- Suzan D. Johnson Cook, of New York, to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
- Robert Patterson, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Turkmenistan
- Jonathan Scott Gration, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kenya
- Michelle D. Gavin, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Botswana
- Rafael Borras, of Maryland, to be Under Secretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security
- Katherine Abraham to be a Member of the Council of Economic Advisors
- Carl Shapiro to be a Member of the Council of Economic Advisors
Please note, this list does not include any military rank upgrades.
Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved by Voice Vote a bill to “streamline the nominations process,” according to a press release.
The bipartisan Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, S. 679 – sponsored by Rules Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and co-sponsored by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me. – would eliminate Senate confirmation for about 200 presidential nominees and set in motion a process to streamline and consolidate the many forms nominees are required to fill out. The Rules Committee is working on a companion resolution to exclude a number of board and commission appointments from the Senate nomination process.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is “lamenting a budget omission he said would hit his state’s economy hard,” Talking Points Memo reports. This is in relation to a provision not included in the final budget deal to fund the government for the remainder of this fiscal year.
In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was down right incensed over the decision not to include a mere $50,000 for an Army Corps of Engineers study on deepening the Port of Charleston in his home state and vowed to "tie the Senate in knots" by holding up Obama administration nominations.
Graham started a string of angry tweets about the omission early Monday. By the end of the day, he had held a press conference on the issue in Charleston, S.C., and was blaming the Obama administration for failing to include the funding in its budget proposal released in February, arguing that 260,000 jobs are tied to the port.
"Obama Admin made a bad mistake not putting money for CHS port in their budget proposal," he wrote.
"No nominations go forward in Senate until we address CHS port," he tweeted, noting that the provision was not an earmark and applied to a dozen ports across the U.S.
The Senate Budget Committee approved the nomination of Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget today by a vote of 11 to 10, according to a press release.
The nomination must now be approved by the full Senate.
A bipartisan group of Senators “proposed a bill Wednesday that would reduce the number of presidential nominations that need Senate confirmation, thus helping to clear the current backlog of stalled executive branch nominations,” Roll Call reports.
In legislation proposed as part of a bipartisan deal to reform Senate rules, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), and Sens.Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) unveiled a bill that would exempt about 200 executive nominations and 3,000 officer corps posts from a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
According to the authors, the legislation would reduce the Senate’s confirmation load by a third.
In addition, a separate resolution offered Wednesday “would create a ‘streamlined’ confirmation process for 250 part-time executive branch positions.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are co-sponsoring both measures.
According to the AP, among the positions “no longer needing confirmation are the chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the deputy director of the National Drug Control Policy, the State Department assistant secretary for public affairs and the Treasury Department director of the Mint.”