The Senate Thursday confirmed scores of administration nominees for top government jobs, clearing a backlog that had been building for months as GOP members vowed to block nominees in retaliation for President Obama's controversial recess appointments earlier this year of a consumer watchdog and three members of the National Labor Relations Board.
The logjam was broken after “lots of discussion,” a GOP source said, and an agreement by Democrats to confirm Republican nominees and an understanding that the White House would make no further recess appointments.
Those confirmed included several controversial nominees including many whose nominations had been pending on the Senate floor for months. Those confirmed included:
* At the Department of Energy: Charles DeWitt McConnell as assistant secretary for fossil energy; David T. Danielson as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy; LaDoris Guess Harris as director of the office of minority economic impact and Gregory Howard Woods as general counsel.
* At the State Department: Roberta S. Jacobson to be assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs; Anne Claire Richard to be assistant secretary for population, refugees and migration; Tara D. Sonenshine to be undersecretary for public diplomacy; and Michael A. Hammer to be assistant secretary for public affairs; Frederick D. Barton to be assistant secretary for conflict and stabilization operations and Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be director general of the foreign service. The Senate also approved the nominations of more than a dozen ambassadors, including those for India, Cambodia, Libya, Haiti, Tunisia, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Panama and Croatia.
* Justice Department: Michael E. Horowitz as inspector general; Kathryn Keneally to be an assistant attorney general and Thomas M. Harrigan to be deputy administrator of drug enforcement.
* Treasury Department: Mary John Miller to be under secretary; Alastair M. Fitzpayne to be a deputy undersecretary; Thomas J. Curry to be comptroller of the currency.
* Commerce Department: Rebecca M. Blank to be deputy secretary.
* Department of Housing and Urban Development: Maurice A. Jones to be deputy secretary.
* Department of Homeland Security: Margaret Ann Sherry to be chief financial officer.
* Agency for International Development: Earl W. Gast to be an assistant administrator.