March 27th, 2010
06:41 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod: Senate has 'a responsibility' to act on nominations

Washington (CNN) – A top adviser to President Barack Obama is suggesting that the administration had little choice but to make the 15 recess appointments the White House announced Saturday.

“[T]he Senate has a responsibility to dispose of these nominations,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod says in an interview that will air Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Related: Obama to make 15 recess appointments

Axelrod adds that the White House is “in a position where the Republican Party has taken a position where they're going to try and slow and block progress on all fronts, whether it's legislation or appointments.”

The Obama adviser tells CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the previous administration had far fewer appointees awaiting Senate confirmation at the comparable point in former President George W. Bush’s first term.

“We have 77 appointees who have not gotten the vote because they have been held up by the Republican Party,” Axelrod tells Crowley. “Some of them are in very sensitive positions - Treasury, Homeland Security, and boards like the Labor Relations Board . . . where there are a huge number of vacancies.”

Much of the controversy over Obama’s decision to use his authority to make recess appointments has centered around Craig Becker, one of Obama’s nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

With a spotlight on the labor relations agency, the top Democrat and top Republican in the Senate have responded to Obama’s plans to make recess appointments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office praised the decision to make the controversial appointments.

“With the recess appointments of these highly qualified individuals, President Obama has shown that he is serious about getting the right team in place to create jobs and protect the American workforce,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a written statement. “The nominees President Obama is appointing have waited an average of 204 days for confirmation. Many of these nominees serve in vital roles on President Obama’s economic team or on critical boards the protect American workers from discrimination and labor abuses. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been operating with only two board members since 2007.”

And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Obama’s decision to appoint Becker and another Democratic nominee to the labor agency is “a purely partisan move.”

"The president's decision to override bipartisan Senate rejection of Craig Becker's nomination is yet another episode of choosing a partisan path despite bipartisan opposition,” McConnell said in a statement. “The president previously held that appointing an individual in this manner meant that the nominee would have ‘less credibility,’ and that assessment certainly fits this nomination. Additionally stunning is the administration’s decision to recess appoint two Democrat nominees to the NLRB and leave the Republican behind. This is a purely partisan move that will make a traditionally bipartisan labor board an unbalanced agenda-driven panel.”

Programming Note: Watch more of the Axelrod interview Sunday on State of the Union at 9 a.m. ET

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. vs

    Candy, Did you ask the Bush spokesperson the same question? I don't think so. Your repeat talking points of the republicans on their critique of the nominees as if there was no dispute about it. You conveniently ignore the fact that the Repubs will not vote for anybody or anything that Mr. Obama proposes purely for ideological reasons. I saw the coverage by Anderson Cooper before the Health Reform bill and couldn't believe what I was hearing. EVERYONE on the panel was saying something critical of the bill, as if they had been given a script. CNN, for the quest for money, you have become "FOX Lite". Pity.

    March 27, 2010 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. aware

    Has Washington lived so long on the basis of outward appearances that it has no feel for inner reality?

    Do we live in a culture where image is everything and substance is nothing – where a new beginning is far more attractive than a long follow-through?

    Image without substance is a lie as is a beginning without a continuation!

    Whitewashing the outside is not too difficult but the narcissistic inward turning of an entitlement culture is a deep seated illness which more and more rules and programs will not touch. 🙁

    The good news is that America is awakening and remembering who she used to be when she knew that it is In God we trust! 🙂

    March 27, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  3. carlos

    Excellent Move........things work out well without the name for the baggers...donut hole instead of a.s hole

    VOTE DEMOCRAT all the way......let us get our sanity back...send the alaska hag to the dungeon

    March 27, 2010 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  4. rob

    Mcconell is saying it like its disrespectful to override them, he's the president, he's telling roll with it or get rolled over

    March 28, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
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