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. Keith in Austin

    Time to appoint some more liberal Socialists, Bozo!

    March 27, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. Obamadinejad

    Obligation? What a joke. How arrogant can you get. This administration has absolutely no respect for democracy. They're going to do what they're going to do by any trick that they can come up with and what are you going to do about it? This administration is as arrogant as midieval royalty. Well, off with their heads then!

    March 27, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. Indy

    That "Hopey changey thing" is going like a fullspeed locomotive now !
    Obama is getting more done in the past year then the last administration did in eight years, in fact there is no comparison ! If he keeps up this pace the winds behind him will blow Republicans into oblivioation by November.

    March 27, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. Dennis in AZ

    What can they say? I guess you all shouldn't have rammed a year's worth of legislation down the throats of the Republicans. I don't blame the Republicans for practicing partisan politics–I can only blame the President for usurping the authority of Congress. He didn't start usurpation–but it darn sure isn't "change we can believe in." More like–business as usual. When a President usurps the authority of the Congress and goes against public opinion to gather power and pass his own personal agenda–don't they call that "tyranny." I thought we all won that fight in 1776–guess I was wrong.

    March 27, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. Red by Choice

    Becker was opposed by both parties. More transparency. More bi-partisanship. "You lie"

    March 27, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. Todd

    Senate republicons represent a tiny tiny fragment of the nation, and yet are putting the nation at risk over their petulant childish behavior. They are acting lie a three year old who pees himself in the car because he did not get the toy he wanted at the mall. They screamed up/down vote for years. Now they are not capable of remembering what that means. So f them. If they want to play hardball let the President get out the Louisville Slugger and show them how the game is really played.

    March 27, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Biased

    Gee, last time I looked the Democrats and Reid set the agenda for daily business.... so hard to say it is the republicans fault entirely. And the one that is so contentious was stopped by both republicans and democrats – but then i guess that doesn't count when democrats don't like Lincoln and Nelson anyway.

    March 27, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. LC in CA

    Absolutely. The senate is supposed to represent the interests of the people, not the ideology of some political party. The fact that the Republicans choose to represent seeming hysterics, malcontents, misinformed religious bigots, and other fringe-type dwellers is their problem, but it seriously hinders the welfare of the rest of us who, by a respectable majority, elected the current administration to clean up Bush/Cheney's horrendous mess. instead, the Republicans seem to be stuck in a time-warp, believing that if they dig a hole big enough, and stand in it long enough, everything will go their way.

    March 27, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  9. rdepontb

    Mr. Axelrod speaks for so many Americans here-members of both the Senate and Congress have a responsibility to discuss, debate, and decide on the many ways forward for this nation.

    It was both sad and maddening to hear Senator McCain tell the world that the President, indeed all Democrats, can expect "no cooperation for the rest of the year" from him or his party. Such a national shame-is that the legacy he intends to leave?

    March 27, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. MaryS_Arizona

    If the senate refused to vote on these appointees, the president had no choice but to go this route. Over six months for some? Over two years for others? That's ridiculous. If the appointees were not suitable, then vote to not confirm.

    Enough with the obstruction to anything and everything. It's about time the president went this route. What took him so long?

    March 27, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  11. MaryS_Arizona

    PS I've very aware Obama has only been in office 14 months, and some of these vacancies were from the previous administration. That makes even more absurd to take this long to confirm.

    March 27, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. TORK242

    Way to go Mr President,let the Republicans go eat S..t . This is BIG F...... Deal.

    March 27, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  13. CHIPS

    More than one way to skin a cat.

    March 27, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. Jim Draper

    We are acting and appearing like we are a Third World Nation; Massive National debt, Political threats of Death, our economy in dire straits, unemployment at undesirable levels, a housing market that has collapsed, a financial sytem that is still balancing on the fence, could go either way. Yes, we look like our Latin American Neighbors.

    March 27, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. j

    Yes, the Senate does have a responsibility to act on nominations. Maybe one day the Republicans will report to work and actually do their job. One can only hope.

    March 27, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. QDL

    Rethuglicans are truly pathetic

    March 27, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. CHIPS

    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.”


    So take your marbles and go home. You can't play with the adults. Your hot air will bust your party wide open. Hit the road Jack and take the other bunch of liar with you.

    March 27, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  18. Mike

    GOOD JOB MR. PRESIDENT. I am sick and tired of Republicans playing politics. I think it is clear to the American people now, that Republicans are only trying to stall, block President Obama's agenda, all for political gain. They don't give a CRAP about American citizens. I think this November and 2012 will be another great WIN for the Democratic Party- The party of solutions, not the party of NO!


    March 27, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  19. Eric

    Interesting. No comment in the article about how the Democratic minority in the Senate blocked judicial appointments by Bush for years.

    March 27, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  20. reality check

    What have the republicans done to help President Obama govern? If you don't believe in government, that's fine; but please get out of the way, so the big boys and girls can do the job that the MAJORITY of Americans elected them to do.

    March 27, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  21. R.O.B.

    Well look at it this way, the Repubs brought it to this. All they've done thus far is try to block progress on everything. So, why make them a part of something that's urgent when their agenda is already understood. If they had been willing to work together from the start instead of trying to obstruct everything then maybe they would get appointed to more positions. It's been over a year and the Repubs have done nothing but try to block everything. They don't deserve to be in positions where all they are going to do stop things from helping average American citizens. I hope they lose even more seats in November.

    March 27, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. Big John

    The party of "No" is trying everything they can in their power to derail President Obama, especially with their obstructions of appointees. Bush did it during recess so what goes around comes around...what's good for the goose is good for the gander. You have my full support President Obama to continue doing a great job. Thank you for your dedication to our country. It's a known fact that the republicans actually hate Amreica and everyone who doesn't think like them. Vote out the republicans(the party of hate) in November.

    March 27, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  23. Obamalism

    Obama has an obligation to appoint people that aren't so far off the fence that Congress will pass them through.

    He's putting forth the most radical people he can find and he's scolding congress for obstructing...really???

    March 27, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  24. Wendy P Wheeler

    Please Cafferty, watch – You Tube ......The Obama Deception. I have seen this on many TV reporters Blogs. I am frightened because nobody is talking. It is not shown on TV. I watch all the country's Moody ,scores and it does seem logical. Could It be true 120 multi-billionairs controlling the money markets our world leaders and getting rich? Please, Please email me. However, please don't tell anyone my name. I trust you and do not want this to stay on your Blog. I am in my early 60s I have an 85 yr old mother to take care of at home. My younger brother has been brain damaged and lives in a nursing home, he was a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot awarded an air medal &, bronze star. He lived in Orlando and had Flash-backs and attempted suicide in 1983, but he lived .My son lost his job and everything he owned so he has come home to go to college. I live on social security. I need some answers so I won't worry about everyone I Love. THANKS!! I do trust you, but beware of who you ask.

    March 27, 2010 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Snarky from SC

    Perhaps if the GOP had acted in a responsible bi-partisan way over Health Care, they would have a right now to object to an Administration appointee. As it is, they forfeited that privilege when they opted to "kill" any & all legislation put forth by the Dems! What goes around, comes around.

    March 27, 2010 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
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