President Obama made fifteen recess appointments today, including two to the National Labor Relations Board and four to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Embattled Justice Department nominee Dawn Johnsen was not on the list.
These were the President’s first recess appointments of his term, and if not confirmed by the Senate, they will be eligible to serve until the end of 2011. The White House release and full list of recess appointments is here.
Recess appointments have been used with some regularity by prior Presidents in response to Senate confirmation delays. The Washington Post “Federal Eye” blog reports:
The White House said that 217 of Obama’s nominees still await Senate confirmation, including 34 nominees that have waited for more than six months. By comparison George W. Bush also had made 15 recess appointments by this point in his presidency, the White House said. Bush made at least 171 recess appointments during his presidency while Bill Clinton made 139, according to the Congressional Research Service.
During part of the Bush Administration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would avoid taking full recesses in the Senate to prevent recess appointments from being made. Not anymore. Back then, Senator Reid maintained that recess appointments were “an end run around the Constitution,” even though the Constitution provides for recess appointments.