February 9th, 2010
02:15 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama threatens to make recess appointments

Washington (CNN) – President Obama threatened Tuesday to use his power to bypass Congress and make appointments to key positions in his administration if Senate Republicans do not allow votes on their nominations.

Obama said he asked GOP leaders during a meeting at the White House "to put a stop to these holds in which nominees for critical jobs are denied a vote for months."

"If the Senate does not act, and I made this very clear, if the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess," Obama said. "Because we can't afford to allow politics to stand in the way of a well-functioning government."

The Senate is scheduled to be in recess next week.

While not mentioning him by name, Obama criticized Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, for putting a hold on all of his nominees as leverage to help his state.

"One senator, as you all are aware, had put a hold on every single nominee that we had put forward, due to a dispute over a couple of earmarks in his state," Obama said.

Shelby has since released his hold on almost all of the nominees.

Filed under: President Obama • Senate
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Tim

    The correct and fair reporting on this issue would be to point out that Obama blocked Bush appointments on several ocassions. Why was it ok then, but not now?

    February 9, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Mary

    That's right! What would Bush do?

    February 9, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Ray in Nashville

    I wonder if the Tea Party will target Senator Shelby for his actions. The senator is acknowledged to be the pork king of the senate and these actions were clear blackmail designed solely to snag more money for his state.

    February 9, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Lee in TN

    It's about time President Obama began calling out these obstructionists. He should not feel bad about making the appointments during recess, as he has tried for months to get some action out of these deadbeat politicians. President Bush used this process without even trying to work with the other party like President Obama has.

    February 9, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. You Betcha

    Go for it. The Republicans should not have any problem with it since they had no problem with the 167 recess appointments Bush made in his first 6 years in office.

    February 9, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I'm sure that Senate Republicans will forget that Bush did this numerous times, and be sufficiently outraged that Obama would bypass them this way.

    February 9, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Gale

    It seems to me that if I remember correctly, this is the exact same thing the Dems did to President Bush the last two years of his presidency. Is it suppose to be different when the Dems are in charge?

    February 9, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. gt

    ,,,, gee this sounds like the bush adminnstration when the democratic senators did the same thing,,,,ugh,,,

    February 9, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Cecil

    Sad that it even needs to come to this. The repubs can't measure each nominee on their own merits, they just lump them all together and say if Obama wants them, then no.
    Sad. Elections have consequences. People see through the games. Grow up.

    February 9, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Will

    It is about time!

    February 9, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. NC Moderate

    Good for Obama, I hope he makes all the held-up appointments. We elected HIM President, NOT Richard Shelby. Republicans like to condemn wasteful spending, but rally behind Shelby in his effort to guarantee a full plate of pork for his constituents. How long before
    Americans get sick of this ridiculous GOP hypocrisy?

    February 9, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. johnrj08

    Shelby symbolizes the arrogant, self-absorbed way that many senators try to extort political favors from administrations. Ben Nelson did the same thing during the health care reform debate in the Senate. These men should be thrown out of Congress.

    February 9, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Will

    Yes, Mr. President... it is about time you used your Executive powers!

    February 9, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. anotherGDlefty

    Just do it.

    February 9, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Illinoistom

    Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. The same clowns that attacked Bush for recess appointments are now doing the same. Funny how it was patriotic to oppose the White House before 1/20/2009, but now it is "playing politics."

    February 9, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Kirsten

    interesting that when the democrats filibuster appointments it okay, but when the republicans do it, its nothing but political grandstanding. i wonder, where was Obama when the Democrats were filibustering Harriet Miers etc? Where was the outrage then? Oh, wait. The Democrats were doing nothing but political grandstanding. Can't have it both ways Mr. President, if you're going to call out one party, make sure you call out the other(especially when they do the same thing).

    February 9, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. MatthewDetroit

    Go for it Barack...put some more of your cronies in... that means they can only stay up to one year......

    hahahaha....you are a whiner Barack... a cry baby and a whiner......

    Someone should really find out where this guy is from and who signed his papers to get into the country....

    Lets see the documents that say who his dad was, what country he belonged to, how old his mother was at the time of birth, some proof of who signed the papers...... and for grins how about his college entrance acceptance and transcripts..... why wont he release his academic record.... everyone is big on saying he is smart but I would like to see his grades and how he got in...

    February 9, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Jim

    Something he should have done ages ago.

    February 9, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. MatthewDetroit

    Hey the Dems did the exact same thing to President Bush so stop crying about it.... you act like a 12 year old girl.

    February 9, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    What a sorry pile of crap the GOP reptiles in congress truly are.

    February 9, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Hud

    The only thing that has functioned since this fool has been in office is his mouth!!!

    February 9, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Steph

    AMEN Mr. President! What the Republicans are doing is criminal!

    February 9, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. L for Legend

    Them dadgum repubs, off the hook with their stupid-ness. President Obama should continue to call out these backward thinkers.

    February 9, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. GrammaDiane

    One more time Obama will use anything he can to get his way. Maybe if the Democrats in control would be willing to listen to both sides and then make a judgement, things would start getting passed. And the Republicans also need to remember they are there for the people, not for themselves or the Republicans. I'm getting tired of paying my congressmen just to have them act worst than my young grandchildren!

    February 9, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Average American

    A Republican is holding this country hostage for earmarks (aka pork)? Shocking...NOT!!! Yes, that's the party of small government for ya.

    February 9, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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