Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wait -- The White House Has Backup Nominees Quickly Available???

Following the Senate nominations deal, which seemingly happened late last night or early this morning, the White House needed replacement nominees for the two NLRB picks who were the losers in the compromise.

And what do you know: they were named this afternoon! In fact, as Harry said just said on the Senate floor, they'll get their hearing on Tuesday (that is, in one week), the HELP Committee will vote on them on Wednesday, and they'll be considered on the Senate floor on Thursday. Soup to nuts in nine days. Huh?

Well, obviously, the larger part of this is that Republicans are removing procedural obstacles by agreement. Which reminds everyone of a key point: it's not just about defeating nominations by filibuster; it's also about delaying them, and about using up the Senate's time.

It's also worth noting that as slow as Congress is normally, they can move very quickly when they all agree to.

But the big thing to notice here is: what about the months of vetting?

Two possibilities. One is that Harry Reid and Barack Obama figured on this outcome months ago, and were prepared for it.

More likely? It's as if all of that vetting isn't really necessary after all. That is, it's not necessary for making sure hat the nominee will do a good job in office; it's only needed in part to get nominees through the confirmation process without surprises, and in part just because of bureaucratic standard operating procedure that has no other purpose.

All of which is to say: if it's good enough for these two NLRB picks, it should be good enough for most administration posts. Reduce vetting now!


  1. If only judicial nominees were as close-at-hand...

  2. Maybe they figure the Republicans won't have time to do any vetting before Tuesday either.

  3. Granted, I've never had to do this. But my assumption on reading this would be that the administration has, to coin a phrase, binders full of (prospective) nominees for these sorts of commissioner type appointments. They may not have had the "months of vetting," but there can't be a shortage of labor-attorney types who are relatively known quantities around the Democratic Party, can there?

    1. I'd also bet on there having been at least some prior vetting of these particular nominees.

      But I think Jonathan's point still stands: if you don't have to worry about breaking a filibuster and your party controls the Senate, vetting likely doesn't have to be a particularly lengthy process.

      But I also think that means that Obama was not necessarily crazy to wait until this moment to try to fill a lot more vacancies. In particular, I would bet that recruitment will be a lot easier if you can tell potential nominees that vetting will be a process of days rather than months.

  4. Well of course the nominees were all picked out and will sail through. The R's were just waiting for Reid and company to cave on those 2 illegitimate nominees, and apparently it was going to either be them or the filibuster, but not both. Reid chose the filibuster. I guess he smells a minority coming soon, to a caucus near him. ;-)

  5. Agree completely, JB. Great reason for nomination process reform AND filibuster reform.

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