Skip to comments.Bush Bypasses Senate on 2 More Nominees
Posted on 01/12/2002 5:35:07 AM PST by JohnHuang2
January 12, 2002
Bush Bypasses Senate on 2 More Nominees
By CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS
ASHINGTON, Jan. 11 Seeking to end a months-long stalemate, President Bush used a backdoor procedure to appoint two nominees to high-ranking positions in the State and Labor Departments today after they had failed to win Senate approval.
Over the objections of some Senate Democrats, Mr. Bush appointed Otto J. Reich as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and Eugene Scalia as Labor Department solicitor.
The president's action could complicate his relations with the Senate, where Senator Tom Daschle, who is the majority leader, and a handful of other top Democrats adamantly objected to the nominations.
Mr. Bush filled the positions under a procedure known as a recess appointment. The Constitution authorizes the president to fill vacant positions when the Senate is in recess, as it is now. The appointees may serve without confirmation until the end of the Congressional session at the end of the year; a majority of senators can remove them at any time.
A White House spokeswoman, Anne Womack, said today that Senate Democrats had forced the president's hand by refusing to grant a confirmation hearing to Mr. Reich and blocking a full Senate vote for Mr. Scalia, whose nomination was approved in committee.
"Both nominations have been sitting in the Senate for months," Ms. Womack said. "They're both critical nominations for this administration. By failing to act, the Senate gave the president no other option but to exercise his Constitutional right to appoint them by recess appointment."
Mr. Daschle issued a statement calling Mr. Bush's action "regrettable."
He said that the nomination of Mr. Scalia, who is the son of Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court, eventually would have come up for a vote by the full Senate. White House officials disputed that today.
"We also said it appeared that Mr. Scalia's record of hostility toward worker protections would have made his confirmation unlikely," Mr. Daschle said.
Turning to the status of Mr. Reich, he added: "Senators on both sides of the aisle had also raised questions about Mr. Reich's nomination based on his record, both in government and in the private sector."
Mr. Reich's nomination to become the top American diplomat for the Western Hemisphere drew strong opposition from a group of senators led by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who is chairman of the foreign relations subcommittee on Latin America. The standoff threatened to revive the fractious debates over Central America policy between Congress and the Reagan White House two decades ago.
In the mid-1980's, Mr. Reich led a covert program to generate public support in the United States for the anti-Sandinista rebels, or contras, in Nicaragua. As the Iran-contra affair became known, a government investigation concluded that Mr. Reich's office had engaged in prohibited acts of domestic propaganda. Mr. Reich's defenders have denounced the inquiry as flawed and note that no charges were filed against him.
Mr. Reich went on to serve as ambassador to Venezuela. More recently, he has worked as a consultant and lobbyist for companies with a variety of interests in Latin America. Mr. Reich, who was born in Cuba, has also been an outspoken critic of President Fidel Castro.
Senator Dodd raised concerns that Mr. Reich's business ties and political agenda left him unqualified for the post and with a "a tin ear when it comes to ethical considerations."
Mr. Dodd suggested that Mr. Reich's appointment could jeopardize the administration's efforts to forge a bipartisan approach to regional issues of free trade, drug- trafficking and immigration.
But supporters of Mr. Reich said his knowledge of Latin America and the Washington bureaucracy made him amply qualified to handle a region that Mr. Bush has declared a foreign policy priority. His appointment was greeted with special enthusiasm by Cuban-Americans, an important constituency for the Bush administration.
Mr. Scalia, who will occupy the Labor Department's third highest position and serve as the secretary's legal adviser, found himself in the cross hairs of organized labor because of his opposition to some worker protection initiatives.
He once denounced as "quackery" and "junk science" a Clinton administration regulation on ergonomics designed to reduce injuries due to repetitive motion; the Bush administration repealed it in March.
John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., called Mr. Scalia's appointment "a slap in the face of American workers."
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the committee on labor, said he regretted the president's move.
As the department's solicitor, Mr. Scalia, a Washington lawyer, will oversee about 180 laws affecting safety and health in the workplace, workers' compensation, minimum wage guarantees and job training.
But, was tiny tom "disappointed"???
The blatant bias in this hit piece has me chewing on my desk.
The good news? It's in SATURDAY'S paper. Old news by Monday. A modified play from the clintbilly play book.
I wish he had not slobbered all over Ted Kennedy last week, but I guess it's all part if the game.
I'd like to know just exactly how much worse this relationship could get with "Lil' Tommy Dasch-hole" in charge. Outside of a fistfight, ol' "small hands and small feet makes for a mean disposition" Dasch-hole has made it clear he intends to bring all Bush attempts to save the country to a complete halt.
Small wonder that over 50% of the American public views the Democrats as trying to ruin the economy and hurt the American people in favor of party politics.
One must wonder just who's politics this involves since their current equation tends to eliminate any potential properity for the American people in the near future.
One thing is clear. Tom "Despite the size it's perfectly functional" Dasch-hole isn't on the side of America. Actions making such a statement of the intent from an internal enemy have never been made more clear.
. . .definitely time for Bush to complicate his 'relationship' with this power-wielding gnat. . .hope for the best of complications. . .
I agree. If I were W, I'd ostracize the little twerp just as he did to Arafat a few weeks ago, and get on with the business at hand. And like a gnat, take a swat at him once in a while. Maybe W could send in a big-assed dragonfly like Dick Cheney to send Tommy to his room until he behaves.
Au contraire, this clarifies the relationship, you play hardball, I play hardball.
Tommy just got a heater under the chin.
Buzz. Puffy D. is again playing fast and loose with facts. If it is true that Scalia would not have been confirmed, Daschle would have brough it up for a vote in a second, to embarass Bush. In truth, Scalia would have been easily confirmed. Daschle was just seeking to appease the far leftists who hate SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia.
"Backdoor"? That word implies that the procedure was both secret and illicit. It was neither. The president acted in public, not in secret; and he has authority under the Constitution to do what he did (as even the author admits).
I wonder if the New York Times ever used "backdoor" to describe any of Bill Clinton's recess appointments.
That's exactly what I thought when I read the article. He has really shown his hand in the past couple months. I think he's going to be mighty surprised come election time. The American people are tired of the players in D.C... and the politicians haven't fully realized the impact 9/11 has had on our country in the way that we're paying attention more to what went wrong and we're taking names.
Dontcha just LOVE the Times??? ROFLMAO ... hehehehe. Get serious, Times wackos! Daschle had just better worry about not complicating HIS relations with the President.
Mr. Scalia, who will occupy the Labor Department's third highest position and serve as the secretary's legal adviser, found himself in the cross hairs of organized labor because of his father.
Following this comment, I reread the Constitution. I find no place where this is listed as a power of the Senate, unless they're talking about some kind of impeachment process.
Perhaps an interpretation is that the vote can go to the full Senate and if the recess appointee is then voted down by a majority, that then requires his removal from the appointment. I see no necessity for that to be the case. It says simply that they President has the power to fill "all vacancies" when the Senate is in recess. These expire at the end of the next session. Even then, nothing prevents the president from reappointing them.
I think the NYT is quite clear here: if one senator (Daschle) and a handful of others (that's 5+1=6) oppose a nomination, then the President should fold up and walk away from the fight. A potential 94-6 vote in the Senate would just "complicate" things.
If the Senate has the votes to defeat an appointment then do it and get on with another person. This game playing is just over payed public servants playing political games with the people's business.