Well, there are two sides to the story.
One part of the equation is how fast President Obama is putting up nominees. And it seems he’s been pretty sluggish on that front. With the addition on Monday of Tom Perez for Labor Secretary, he’s announced nine nominees and still has four more Cabinet or Cabinet-rank jobs to fill. By contrast, President G.W. Bush had made 11 nominations by this time in his second term — nine of which he made in the six weeks following his reelection. President Bill Clinton had announced 12 nominees by the end of the December following his reelection.
But in the second half of the Obama administration’s nomination picture — how quickly the Senate is approving those nominees — things are moving apace.
Four of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed so far: Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, CIA Director John Brennan, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. For those folks, the average number of days between the announcement by the White House and confirmation is 49 days, which beats the averages of the last three administrations that had second terms.
According to the Congressional Research Service, it took an average of 54.6 days for President George W. Bush’s second-term nominees; that figure was 67.8 days for President Bill Clinton’s picks and 56 days for President Ronald Reagan’s.
Who says the Senate can’t step lively these days?