Some Obama nominees missed the confirmation train

April 2, 2012

Former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte. (Luis Romero/Associated Press)

But there was sad news for a handful of nominees left on the platform when the train chugged away, awaiting an uncertain future as summer approaches. Some of them have been subject to “holds” by one or more senators — often for extraneous matters — and may need 60 votes to get confirmed.

Others, including some who got to the floor too late last week — just as senators were packing to get away — may yet be able to get confirmed, perhaps individually or via a political “package deal” — being paired with a GOP nominee or another sweetener.

Here are some of those still awaiting Senate action:

* Kenneth Kopocis, who was nominated in June to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for water.

* Carol Galante, nominated in October to be assistant secretary of housing and urban development and Federal Housing Administration commissioner.

* Arunava Majumdar, now director of the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, who was nominated in November to be undersecretary of energy.

* Michael Scuse, who was nominated in September to be undersecretary of agriculture for farm and foreign agricultural services.

* Mark Lippert, who had been National Security Council chief of staff and was nominated in October to be assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific affairs.

* Carlos Pascual, who was forced out as ambassador to Mexico a year ago after WikiLeaks leaked a cable in which he complained about inefficiency and infighting among Mexican security forces in the drug war, had been nominated to be the first assistant secretary of state for energy.

* Adam Namm, a career Foreign Service officer who was nominated in September to be ambassador to Ecuador.

* Mari Carmen Aponte, who had been given a recess appointment in August 2010 as ambassador to El Salvador, lost the job when Senate Republicans blocked her confirmation in December and declined to approve her before leaving for recess.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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